Half Full or Half Empty?
Some think that the glass is not only half-full, but also filled with toxic water. Although I consider myself an optimist, I sometimes fall into that logic. This usually occurs after I’ve made a mistake, used wrong judgment, or made a mess of things in one way or the other. My co-workers, bless their hearts, remind me (in a kind way) that I am only human and I will make mistakes, not only at work but also in my personal life. Granted, I do need to own up to my failings and learn from them, but after that it is time to move forward.
However, I tend beat myself up for several hours, even days, depending on the seriousness of my mistake. This causes my blood sugar to plummet, which in turn affects my general health, which then adds to the negative thought pattern. This downhill spiral is hard to stop and serves no purpose after a short period of justified remorse and a fervent, “I’m sorry” when that is warranted.
The psychology behind this self-punishment isn’t hard to figure out. If I suffer enough, perhaps I can somehow atone for my error, lapse of judgement, or insensitivity. I fail to remember Isaiah 43:25: “I am, I am he that blots out thy iniquities for my own sake, and I will not remember thy sins.” Even if my fellow humans cannot forgive or forget, God will. God loves ― and forgives ― a contrite heart.
St. Paul is an inspiration in this regard. He showed great courage (and conviction) after his conversion, not only in preaching the Gospel, but also in facing the people he so fervently persecuted. If St. Paul could do it, perhaps with enough prayer and faith I could have the same courage.
The lesson continues in Philippians 4:8: “ Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy ― meditate on these.” This means not rehashing all mine (or someone else’s) sins.
I can this a step further. In this world of instant news, atrocities and crises add an additional burden to my issues and life can become weary and heartbreaking ― if I let it. Going back to Saint Paul, I am to be aware of what is happening in this world, and of my sins, but I do not need to mediate on them in order to prove that I care. If meditate on God’s love, His forgiveness, and all the blessings I have undeservedly received, along with His Word, then the glass will not only be half full of sweet water, but also capable of receiving more, until it is overflowing.
Thus, I will make a concerted effort to lift my eyes to God, for He will rescue me from all evil – even from myself.