Sunday, July 5, 2020


Optimism vs Pessimism.  Addressed in the past.

In light of COVID and Racial tensions, etc.  seems reasonable to address again.
(some stats leading to the point of the message)

Are Americans Optimistic or Pessimistic?
(per research poll March 2019 before recent events:)
Generally, our nation as a whole:  56% said "at least somewhat optimistic about USA in 2050."

BUT, on specific issues:
60%  - USA will be less important in the world.
73% - gap between rich and poor will widen
65% - country will be more divided

Concerning our Political leaders' ability to handle these issues:
2% - not worried at all
10% - not too worried
39% - fairly worried
48 - very worried

A Jan. 2019 poll - 70% of Americans = dissatisfied with the way things are going.

5 polls last week conclude "our country is on the wrong track!"
(question:  how could it be otherwise with the left vs. right division?  ideologial split!

34% fairly worried about the nation's MORALS
43% very worrked about the nation's MORALS
= 77% total.  BUT no consensus on what constitutes right and wrong!

50% - "religion will lose importance over next 30 years."
44% - "family's standard of living will get worse"
60% - expect a terrorist attack worse than 911.
63% - expect national debt to increase
57% - expect a major world wide energy crisis
And the list goes on and on.....

AND YET - when are not asked about SPECIFICS ---
56% - 58% are at least "somewhat optimistic" about American's future

QUESTION:   What's this say?
Maybe -- "I'm not happy with the way things are going but I still have confidence in America" as a nation, generally.

So, again.... addressing the future of USA generally (not looking at specifics...)
we find (in another poll from Dec. 2019) 56% - 58% of Americans are optimistic about our future.

But NOW??  Post COVID, demonstrations, etc. 
(June 15th. survey)
19% = very optimistic
35% = somewhat optimistic
54% - Optimistic

On the other hand,
23% = somewhat pessimistic
11% - very pessimistic
34% - Pessimistic

(and 12% - "I don't know") - No real change!!

Another interesting slant:  poll end of 2018:
60% optimistic
37% pessimistic
 3% - unsure

When optimists were asked "what makes you optimistic?"  They spoke to their own personal lives!!
 looked inward - family, jobs, health, etc.   "Things are going well for ME!!"
So, on one hand, may have pessimistic view of the nation, but optimistic view for me and mine!

On the other side:
When Pessimists were asked "what fuels your pessimism?"  - "What gives you grave feelings?"

#1. Answer @ 64% - "Politics"    Ironically, same number upset by politics = uplifted by family!  
National level vs personal level.

#2. Answer on "what makes me pessimistic?" = "THE MEDIA"

So.... question:  IF you weren't focused on Politics and Media, then how would your outlook be????

Therefore, want to reduce anxiety???  - lay off Politics and Media.  It depresses.

Want to increase confidence?  focus on personal blessings.... family, community, etc. 
Or, in other words, "Count Your Blessings"

This is not to egnore, remain uninformed, crawl in a hole without telephone, TV, computer, etc.

DOES = re-focus, adjust focus, get proper focus.

We can give dozens of good reasons for pessimism or optimism.

However, for the Christian = a 3rd. option = "Quietism"

Definition - "Quietism" = calm, quiet uncertainty  (we don't know what's going to happen)
calm confusionunsettled certainty?

In other words, I AM informed, I am concerned, AND I am unccertain! 
BUT I am not anxious!  distressed!  worried!  disquieted!

(1)  The Psalmist's Quieting of the Soul - Psm. 42:1-6a, 9-11 - life is unsettling.  Doesn't mean ignoring the problem.

(2)  Habakkuk's dilemna.  Hab. 1:2-6, 12-13, 3:16-19a
No room here for optimism.  But is room for quiet acceptance.

(3)  Paul's admonishment:  Phil. 4:4-9 - written from Roman prision

Objection!!!  Than does not solve the problem!    or divert disaster! 

Answer = that's correct!!!  But note  John 14:27 - "not peace as the world give it"

So.... what then.... to do???

(1)  Focus (on God, on good things) - Phil. 4:8 (again) - there's a lot of good stuff going on.

(2)  Give Thanks - 1 Thess. 5:18 - develops optimism in the midst of bad

(3)  Pray  (our most Powerful weapon!!)  James 5:16b - If we spend as much time praying as we do groping and complaining, would have a major prayer thing going!

Example:  Daniel - Dan. 6:1-10 - He was informed and concerned
Question:  Was Daniel optimistic or pessimistic?
Answer:  Don't know.  But clearly he was a "Quietist"!!

(4)  Press on!! Do what you know you're supposed to do.

US has seen much worse!!!
-- Political atmosphere before and during the Revolutionary War.  (Benjamin Franklin's son was a TORY!!)
--- Social atmosphere during and immediately after Civil War.  (in which 750,000 Americans died in battle!!  plus wounded and maimed.  Left 37,000 widows, 90,000 orphans which was more than WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam combined!!
(plus economic devastation, political and social strife!! aftermath (reconstruction!)  Was bitterness, hatred, etc.  AND YET -.... it strengthened the Union!!

For the Christian - John 16:33 - Don't have to be optimistic or pessimistic, be a believer!

For the "not yet Christian" - you can have this!!!  John 1:10-13


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