How to be Optimistic in a World of Pessimists

Love bears all things, believes all things,  hopes all things, endures all things.  Corinthians 13:7 

By Pastor Bob Haines

It's a joy to be alive today - to be in America, free - and able to worship God in my own way! Just think of all the wonderful blessings that you enjoy as an American, yet most often take them all for granted. I want to share with you some things that I feel are important to a happy and rewarding life as well as one key to unity within the local church. 

There are two main emphases in the Christian gospel:

  1. Relationship with God and 
  2. with other people. 

Not only is there a lack of a loving, trusting relationship with God among some Christians, there is a basic problem in relating properly and lovingly with other people. I believe one of the reasons that many people don't seem to be happy today is, simply put, other people.They just can't seem to form good relationships. 

Who can you really trust with your feelings?

Who are your true and loyal friends?

Who is suspicious of in their motives?

Do people accept you?

Do people like you?

Can you be yourself or do you need to put up some kind of front or smokescreen? 

It is a necessity for the Christian to form strong relationships with other people in society. Even more important is for the Christian to have strong, trusting relationships with brothers and sisters in the faith. Only when that is being accomplished can the church move forward in its ministries. 

The theme of this paper is building meaningful personal and intra personal relationships - sort of an "how to".

From I Corinthians 13:7, we can get 4 perspectives (determinants) on building meaningful, and thus, successful relation ships. 

1. First: We must learn to bear the shortcomings of others. 


The New Testament Greek word translated as BEAR means, to endure; put up with; to keep hidden, i.e. to pass over in silence. We all have our faults - some more so than others. We must never let the faults of others get in the way of being related and committed to each other. 

The maxim of Proverbs 10.12 is that, love is able to overlook (cover up) the faults of others. The “judge not lest ye be judged” passage of Matthew 7.1-5 was a caution against those who readily see and point out the faults of others. 

If we are to love, we must be able to accept people like God does, i.e. as they are. This ability makes us unique as Christians. 

2. Secondly, we can learn to believe in people. 


The Greek word for BELIEVE means to have faith in; to have confidence in; to trust. To believe in someone is to believe the best about that person, - to take the best & kindest view possible in all circumstances. 

For example. Christ believed (had faith it) Peter, - the bold fisherman who betrayed Christ. The gospels are filled w/stories of sinners - of down casts - of all sorts of people whom Christ believed in -the "down-and-outers" -the "up-and-outer" 

To believe in others is to be sensitive to their faults, to trust that person with patience & understanding and that real possibilities can evolve by forgiveness & understanding. Love Bears all things. 

3. Thirdly, we can learn to be more optimistic. 


One of my favorite illustrations of optimism verse pessimist is the tale of an optimist and a pessimist setting one day at a train yard watching an old steam locomotive about to leave the station with a long line of cars behind. In short, the pessimist said, “they’ll never get that train going.” The optimist, full of confidence, said, “yes they will, just watch.” After awhile, huffing and puffing, the train began to move slowly at first. As the steam began to build up, the train begin to move fairly rapidly out of the train yard. With that the optimist said, “see, I told you they would get that train moving. The optimist blurted out, "well, just watch them try and stop that thing!" 

The Greek word for HOPE means to expect , i.e. to expect the best in people. 

Like you, there have been times in my own life when I thought that I just couldn't face certain people - especially people in hurting situations. One thing I have learned over the years is that people are ALWAYS people, even when dying. People ALWAYS need people! And, we CAN build meaningful 

Consequently, the church’s primary mission is to help people foster a proper relationship with God and others. 

Relationships: God sees us through all obstacles in building relationships. ALL of you were once little boys and girls. You remember the story of the little engine going up the hill, struggling with all its might, “The Little Engine That Could.  Optimistically, he could exclaim, “I think I can, I think I can . . . I hope I can, I hope I can . . . I know I can, I know I can . . . I knew I could, I knew I could!”

Optimism means you can! You can do what you `think' you can.

Unlike the little engine, however, there are times when we cannot go under our own power. We need God's help, the strength of His Holy Spirit. Hope is built on the power of God's love. 

We CAN be optimistic that life is not only to be endured, but lived in all its fullness when we have meaningful relationships. 

4. Fourth, like the little engine, we learn never to give up 


The Greek word for ENDURE means to hold out, stand firm. Do you ever fill like giving up - on yourself - on others who may reject you? Be assured of one thing: Christ Himself felt like giving up. In the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane, he pleaded with God, the Father, to the effect, “PLEASE LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME!" Yet He submitted, "NEVERTHELESS, FATHER, NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE BE DONE" 

Paul said, "the love of Christ CONSTRAINS us", i.e. pushes us forward. It was love that pushed Christ up Golgotha's hill. It was love that bore the cross - your cross. Christ never gives up. His love never will. He believes in us. His love never fails. 

In the face of doubt and darkness, despite opposing circumstance, love never fails. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love is the ingredient in life that helps us continue to grow in relationships with those around about us. 

Jesus says to each of us: "A new commandment I give unto you, love one another as I have loved you." 

Do you know God's love? If so, are you taking Jesus’ command seriously? Do you really and truly love others? Are you sharing that love with others both inside and outside the church? 


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