Today pretty much everybody understands the words optimist and pessimist. But for Christians the terms are not only nonbiblical; they’re not entirely useful, either.
When considering ourselves and our fellow human beings, Christians might be called unshakable pessimists. We’ve all sinned, and we all deserve death. Sin has so infiltrated human life and society that everything’s polluted by it. Jesus went so far as to call the whole lot of us evil.
But in terms of God’s grace, we ought to be overflowing optimists. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death on the cross, rose again, and opened a pathway to the Father in Heaven. The Big Story has an amazingly happy ending, not only for Jesus, but for Christians, too. In biblical terms that’s called not optimism, but hope. The more hope we have, the more it transforms all our thoughts and actions—even about ourselves and our fellow human beings.
(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley