By Dr. Hal Brady
A few days ago, my wife and I visited a minister friend and his wife in an Atlanta hospital.
This minister friend and I have known each other for a number of years, as we served neighboring churches at the same time in the North Georgia mountains.
Though we haven’t seen each other for some time, when I found out he was in the hospital in another city, I called him to see how he was doing. He told me that he had been in one hospital, transferred to another, was told he was to have heart bypass surgery, and was waiting for the date. His wife shared that the date had been set and changed several times.
A few days later, I called back and found out that he had been transferred to a hospital in Atlanta. So, of course, my wife and I went to check on him.
Upon arriving in his room, he was just back from having a couple of “heart stents” put in. When he saw me, a smile came across his face and he said, “Brother Brady, it’s been a hundred years (an exaggeration). After the nurses left I said to him, “You’ve had something of a time with these different hospitals and varying opinions.” I expected him to reply, “Yeah, I have.” But he said no such thing. He said, “Well, they have all tried their best and have helped me, but I’m ready to go home – back to those mountains.”
After the prayer, I thought to myself, what a marvelous positive attitude. He had been in three hospitals, was told he needed bypass surgery, and spent much time waiting. Yet he was and is positive about the whole experience.
Like my friend, positive people are always inspiring us.
Noted minister and author, the late Dr. James W. Moore, entitled one of his books, “Attitude is your paintbrush. It Colors Every Situation.”
According to Dr. Moore, this is precisely what the Apostle Paul was underscoring in Romans 12 when he said, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice ... to God (12:1). In other words, let serving God and trusting God be the attitude of your life.
In the rest of this article, I want to mention three significant ideas about what makes for a positive attitude.
First, a positive attitude results from a sense of gratitude or thankfulness!
Melody Beattie, an American author, writes, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life … It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
The most positive people I know are the grateful people. Even in difficult circumstances, these grateful people know, because of their strong faith in God, that God is with them and they cannot be defeated. They know that God is with them and will ultimately give them the victory, and for that, they are grateful and positive.
Second, a positive attitude results from being open to the good, the true, the beautiful, and the joyous. I once knew a friend, now in the Church Triumphant, whose unwavering philosophy of life was this, “Everything’s beautiful and getting better all the time.”
Behind his life were multiple acts of kindness: dressing up like Santa Claus at Christmas while patrolling the streets of a major city and performing little deeds of kindness, visiting the ill, stopping at institutions and homes to bring joy to children and adults, even visiting the hospital at midnight to be sure his friend’s needs were being met. And, of course, his kindnesses extended to numerous other homes and situations as well.
It’s no wonder that his life’s motto was, “Everything’s beautiful and getting better all the time.” A life of small kindnesses on behalf of others will assure us of a positive attitude.
Third, a positive attitude results when we recognize that others love us! To live with and get along with other people, we need to assume that they love us. This happens for many of us with our families and/or friends.
But it goes deeper than that. Truth is, we have a right to believe that others ought to love us because of our very creation. Granted, this sounds a bit conceited, but it’s not. You see, we are God’s children, and we have a God-likeness. And that’s true of all of us!
There are certainly other things that contribute to a positive attitude, but these three merit our close attention. Life is much more inspiring and joyful with a positive attitude.
Dr. Hal Brady is a retired pastor who continues to present the Good News of Jesus Christ and offer encouragement in a fresh and vital way though Hal Brady Ministries (halbradyministries.com).