Choosing to Thrive in My Circumstances
Choose to See the Best in People
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 leg 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, compared to the teacher who says, “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.
There is no one who doesn’t have good in them. And there is no one who has no good in them. Part of our role as Christians is to see the best in people and encourage people to be the best version of who God created them to be.
Prayer for Our Gifts
Lord, thank You for the many gifts You have given me.
(specifically acknowledge your gifts)
Help me to give my best effort
with what You’ve given me today.
Help me not to look with envy on what I do not have,
but to look with joy on what I do have.
May I use the gifts I have received from You to Your glory.
Choose to see the best in people around you today.