Do you know people who complain all the time? Even when things are going well, they find something to fuss about. Food is either too hot or too cold, too salty or not salty enough. At church the sermon is either too enthusiastic or too boring, too long or not long enough. No matter what the situation is, they always see the glass as being half empty.
Conversely, and much rarer, are the people who always see the glass as half full. It doesn’t matter how badly things are going for them, they seem to find the good in everything. They lose their job? It’s “a blessing in disguise.” They break a leg? “Just glad it wasn’t both of them.” They seem to always have something positive to say even about those who hurt them.
There’s a man at church, John, who always see the glass as half full. Every time I see him he has a smile and a word of encouragement for everyone. He’s one of the first people to lend a helping hand or pray for someone in need of prayer. Recently I found out that he’s been living with pain from inoperable kidney stones for years. The stones are too deeply embedded to respond to lithotripsy, and because he’s diabetic, doctors are hesitant to perform surgery. When he was telling me this (and it was only because I asked) I cried. I cried because here was a godly man, suffering physically, and yet being more concerned about the needs of others than he was his own.
I know other men like John. There’s Scott, whose back pain from a couple slipped disks sometimes has him laid up for days at a time, but I’ve never seen him with a scowl on his face. He greets people as they arrive at church. When someone is moving, he’s there to help load and unload the U-Haul. Lucky (no one knows his real name. Guess he’s embarrassed) is another guy who everyone loves. He’s epileptic, so he doesn’t drive. Rides his bike everywhere. He’s almost 70. He’s survived cancer, pneumonia, and who knows what else, but he always has a hug, a handshake, a prayer, or a joke for each person who crosses his path. He mops all the floors at the church, cleans the bathrooms, and attends every single prayer meeting. He’s never late. Whatever needs doing, Lucky offers to clean up, fix up, or cheer up. In fact, no one else can keep up, because he’s so energetic.
These are the kind of people we can learn from. I’m sure you know people like John, Scott, and Lucky, as well as people who are bitter, hold grudges, and point out the negative everywhere they go.
When I first left Mormonism, I didn’t want to acknowledge any good things that came from being a member of the Church. Part of it was because I didn’t want to give credit to an organization that I believed taught a false gospel. I only wanted to credit God alone for every good thing that happened in my life. Now, don’t get me wrong.It’s not bad to want to give glory to God. The thing I had to eventually learn is that God can use many different situations and people to bring His goodness into our lives.
For example; God used Cyrus the Great, a pagan, to liberate the Jewish people and allow them to rebuild the Temple. Hiram, the King of Tyre, sent laborers and supplies to help Solomon build the Temple. We see many instances in the biblical record and since, where God has blessed His people through others, be they believers, non-believers, or pagans. Sometimes God heals people supernaturally by His power, and at other times he heals through medicine and physicians. In either case we can thank the Almighty for his provision and care.
I now look back with gratitude for all the Mormons in my life who taught me skills, helped us out in times of need, were good to my family, and who set great examples. I’ve been inspired by a lot of LDS men and women who were great parents, leaders, teachers, and friends. Just because I came to the conclusion that the religion of Mormonism is not reflective of the true gospel, doesn’t mean I cannot recognize the good that came from my affiliation with the Church and the Mormon people.
It’s important to point out error when necessary. Sometimes we have to speak out against falsehood, especially when it can bring harm. But we have to be careful that we don’t get out of balance, always focusing on the negative. It’s important to be known for what we stand for, as well as what we stand against.