Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Good morning Prayer Team!
There are lots of circumstances that are beyond our control. Some people are born into poverty. Others are born with physical or mental disabilities. These are circumstances that people have no choice in. I do not believe that being a “glass half empty” person is a condition into which one is born. How we look at certain circumstances is a choice.
I don’t know how many of you remember the TV show “Cheers”. It was centered around personalities who congregated daily at a bar in Boston. One of the characters was named “Woody” and he was the junior bartender at Cheers. Every time someone in the bar talked about family, Woody had a story about his family, which usually revolved around one of his many uncles or cousins being disfigured in an accident involving farm equipment. It was very predictable (and for purposes of the show, very funny). Someone would mention family or family problems and in would chime Woody “You don’t know what problems are, my uncle Buck had his right knee caught in a combine machine.”
We all know people who are glass half-empty in their outlook on things. Tell them about anything good and they will find the bad in it. And we all know people who are glass-half full people. Tell them anything bad and they will manage to find some good in it. Now that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be realistic—there are certain things that are bad where little if any good can be found in them. But the overall choice to be an optimist or a pessimist is just that, a choice.
It’s like the difference between a teacher who says “everyone starts out with an A” and you can try to maintain it. Or “everyone starts out with an “F” and you have to dig your way out of it. There are people who say “I won’t trust you until you earn it,” and others who say “I’ll trust you until you blow it.” We’ve almost been “conditioned” it seems to be cynical and not give the benefit of the doubt.
If you look at Christ’s example though, He was definitely a glass half-filled person. He saw the best in people. The first, and perhaps best example that comes to mind is from John 8:1-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery. This is where people wanted to stone a woman who was caught in adultery. And Jesus told them “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) When everyone left, Jesus told her that He did not condemn her and that she should go and sin no more. He didn’t say “You’re pathetic,” or “You have no future.” He told her, basically, “there is still good in you, go and be good, go and do good with your life.” Jesus was the optimist who thought one lost sheep was worth going after, even if ninety-nine never went astray. (Matthew 18:13) Jesus showed us repeatedly that we should see the best in our circumstances and in the people around us.
Lord, thank You for the people in my life. Thank You for the ones who help and support me. (mention them by name). Help me to love even those who do not love or support me. (mention them by name) Help me to be loving and supportive to all, seeking Your glory in all things. Help me to see the best in all the people I will encounter today. Amen.
Choose to see the best in people around you today.
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