Real Man 8: Mr. Devoted Pessimist (Mark 3:18)
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Real Man #8 Thomas–Mr. Devoted Pessimist
Part 10 Real Men, from Mark 3:18
I found an article describing the things that annoy people the most–it was five pages long, small font. And sadly I discovered, there were items listed on each page that were actually annoying to me. But even worse than being annoyed was this–there were things on that list that I do. I am annoying–and so are you, to someone, with something you do. What annoys you? Maybe you can identify with these annoyances. Ready? . . .
Drivers who don’t use a turn signal
Noisy eaters, public burpers and people with bad table manners
Students who prolong class by asking inane questions
Women who wear jewelry that makes noise with every movement
Going through the drive thru, then having to go back when they mess up your order
Talking on the phone using the speaker when out in public
Drivers who won’t turn right on a red, or who back up without looking
People who text others while you’re talking to them, or who text others while driving
When your spouse or roommate uses the butter and transfers jelly, crumbs and other food parts onto the butter
People who don’t do their job at work
Tapping, clicking, popping knuckles, and other noisy, nervous habits
People who take forever to order food while you’re in line behind them
When you open the DVD case and it’s empty, or worse, has a different movie in it
People who walk their dogs and let them poop indiscriminately (like on someone’s lawn), and don’t pick it up
People who don’t cover their mouth while sneezing or coughing
People who habitually need favors, hand-outs or ask for freebies
Trying to open an electronic item, but because it’s in thick plastic mold packaging, you cut yourself trying to get it out
Jerks who take up two parking spaces
People who act like they are in their own living room while at a ballgame, play, movie or restaurant
Guys who grunt like a dying gorilla when lifting weights at the gym
People who give their kids weird names, like Mr. Lear calling his daughter Chanda—Chanda Lear
Women who wear so much perfume your throat closes and lungs burn
When you find a nice piece of clothing (at a good price) at the store, but there is not a single one in your size on the table or rack
People who smoke outdoors and don’t care you’re downwind
When someone with a full cart of groceries gets into the ten items or less line
Tremendously sick people who end up sitting next to you on a plane
There are a lot of annoying things–most of them are cultural. Burping in another culture is a compliment. Wearing loud jewelry in a different culture is fashionable. But there are some things that are universally bad–like those aspects of our personality that result in sin. You may have some annoying habits, but when those habits contradict the Word of God, they must be viewed not as annoying, but as offensive to God, and damaging to you and others.
And like an annoying habit, some of our sinful bents are tough to temper, let alone get rid of. It requires a constant focus on the Gospel and the truth, that we continually reckon ourselves dead to sin. But it also requires continual dependence upon the Spirit, a will that seeks to step out in obedience and go to war against sin. Every man, woman and child here battles with sinful bents.
Like Abraham, you lie when under pressure
Like David, you struggle with lust
Like Peter, your tongue is out-of-control
Like John, your commitment to truth needs the tempering of love
Like Philip, you put God in a box
Like Matthew, you are crushed by your past life
And today, like Thomas, though you are deeply devoted to Christ, you are also a pessimist, a negative, downer person. You live by faith, but you see the dark side of everything. You love others, but you can’t help but focus on their faults. You are the one who will point out the flaw in every meal, or battle with affirming a “B” on a report card, or highlight the danger of every plan.
Now before we throw Thomas under the bus, I hope today you will realize that Thomas is not as bad as he has been made out to be. When you think of Thomas, you remember him as what? “Doubting Thomas”–but after today, I believe you will agree with me that Thomas could sue for defamation of character. Thomas’s name has been scorched for 2,000 years, and today we need to set the record straight. He may have had a negative bent, but he was devoted to Christ. That’s why I call him Mr. Devoted Pessimist. Sure, he has a sinful bent to deal with, but he was also deeply devoted to Christ in a way few were back then, or today.
If you’re new with us, we are teaching verse-by-verse through the gospel of Mark, and have arrived in chapter 3 where Jesus calls His twelve disciples. Mark already told us the religious leaders are trying to kill Christ in verse 6. So He moves His ministry from the synagogues out into the open–and the crowds are so large, there is no way He can minister to everyone in verses 7 and 8. So He appoints these twelve to officially help in the preaching and caring for the crowds, and to continue to work long after Christ has ascended to Heaven. After Peter, James and John are named in verses 16 and 17, in verse 18 Mark also tells us Jesus appointed, “and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas.”
Who is Thomas? Well, he was also called Didymus, which means “the twin”. Apparently he had a twin brother or sister, but that twin is a mystery to us–they’re never named in the Bible. And Thomas’s name is only mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke, with no description given, other than he was one of the twelve apostles. So all we know about Thomas is written in the gospel of John.
John fills in what the other gospels left out, giving us a better picture of some of the little-known apostles, like Thomas. He is shown to be a negative, brooding worry-wart, who was anxious and angst ridden, anticipating the worst to happen. Thomas had a habit of looking at the dark corners of life. But Thomas was also intensely devoted to Christ.
Devotion is what Christians are to Christ, and grow to be as they walk in Christ. Devotion is both an expectation and a target for every believer. You are devoted when you no longer live by your will, but by the will of God. It is the devoted heart that considers God in everything, and makes all you do and say to His glory–from driving, common conversation, hanging out with friends, to discipling, teaching, sharing the Gospel and worshipping. All of it is for Christ–that was Thomas. No matter what, all his life and even his death were for Christ—devoted.
So allow me to introduce you to devoted, yet pessimistic, Thomas by turning to the three passages which X-ray his weaknesses, but also expose the strength of his devotion. First turn to John chapter 11 and discover . . .
#1 The Courageousness of His Devotion
Even though it’s merely a single verse mentioning Thomas here, it lays him out like an autopsy, and exposes his inner man. In verse 16, “Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.’” This is the prelude to the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus had just left Jerusalem, because his life was in obvious danger from the religious leaders trying to trap and kill him. Look back at John 10:39, “Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.” So what does Jesus do? Verse 40, “And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there.” Great crowds came out to hear Jesus preach, so John says in verse 42, “Many believed in Him there.” Some say this may have been the most fruitful time of ministry the disciples had ever witnessed. People were responsive and repentant, and Jesus was able to minister freely, without the opposition of the proud religious rulers.
So picture this–the best time ever ministering to people away from Jerusalem, and death awaiting you if you return to Jerusalem. So what happens? Some dear friends of Jesus plead with Him to return to the Jerusalem region on an urgent errand. Look at John 11:1 to 3, “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.”
Bethany is on the outskirts of Jerusalem–it’s just over the hill on the Mount of Olives. And Jesus had formed a close relationship with this little family who lived there. He loved them with a special affection. He had stayed with them, and they had provided for His needs. And now His dear friend Lazarus was sick, so Mary and Martha, verse 3, “So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’” They knew Jesus could heal him.
But this becomes a quandary–if Jesus returns, the hateful religious leaders would find out, and try to seize Him to kill Him. Or He could continue with great ministry to thousands, but that may mean Lazarus could get sicker and possibly die. The disciples must have breathed a sigh of relief when Jesus answered in verse 4, “But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’”
What Jesus meant was that Lazarus’s death would not be the ultimate end of his sickness, but that the Lord would glorify Himself by raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knew Lazarus would die–He knew the exact moment. So John adds this strange statement in verses 5 to 6. “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.”
Does that sound as strange to you as it does to me? John says Jesus loves this family, so He will remain away from them while Lazarus is dying. He deliberately tarries longer, and stays away–why? So He can give Lazarus time to die. From a human perspective, that might actually seem unloving—until you consider what Jesus has in mind. Motivated by love, Jesus will wait for Lazarus to die, because in doing so it will actually bring about a greater blessing.
Would you agree that it is a far greater blessing to receive your brother back from the dead than to have him merely healed from a sickness? This act will glorify the Lord, and strengthen their faith in a big way. By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead four days already. You can’t live more than three days without water, and Lazarus has been in the tomb four days, which means Lazarus is truly dead. Not mostly dead, but gone dead–this is not a faint, nor a fake. The body starts decomposing in 24 hours. This is 96 hours.
The Lord knew the exact moment when Lazarus would die. So when the time was right, when Lazarus was dead long enough to arrive after four days, Jesus said in verse 7, “Let us go to Judea again.” Well, the disciples think this is crazy in verse 8, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” Just back in John 10:31 the Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Are you crazy, Jesus? They want to kill you there, and the ministry is great here. This is basic Lord–they hate you there, and they love you here.
Jesus responds to their fears by giving them an illustration in verses 9 to 10, “Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’”
Jesus says, I am not a criminal who does my work at night–I do my work in the day. I do not have to skulk around like a thief who fears getting caught. I’ve nothing to fear and nothing to hide. So take a chill pill, fellas—calm down, boys. They were afraid to die, but Jesus knows your time to die is in God’s hands, and not in anyone else’s power–even your enemies’.
And Jesus lets them know, he is going for a special reason in verse 11, “’Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.’” They missed His meaning, because they respond in verse 12 with, “’Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’” Lord, if he’s only asleep, why not let him rest? What’s the hurry if he is on the road to recovery and getting better, Lord?
Verses 13 to 15, “Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.’” This is like the time someone offered me a mint and I said, “No thanks, I don’t want any candy.” So they had to be direct with me, “Your breath stinks.” “Ohhh!” I got it–and now the disciples get it. Jesus had to go back. There was no talking Him out of it–Lazarus is dead.
The disciples were floundering in fear, and were convinced if Jesus went back to Bethany that He would be killed. Jesus is glad to be going now, and glad for His disciples that He was not there when Lazarus was merely sick, so now they could clearly see just who Christ is when He raises the dead. But it’s now clear to the disciples, Jesus has made up His mind. And it is at this point where devoted, pessimistic Thomas speaks. This is where we meet Thomas for the first time in all the gospel records. This is where we get some detail on who Thomas is.
John 11:16, “Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.’” Would you agree that this is a combination of negative pessimism and courageous devotion? Thomas is convinced if Jesus goes near Jerusalem, He will be stoned to death. Yet, if that be the case, Thomas says, “I will too–and I am ready to die with Christ.” MacArthur calls it Heroic Pessimism–Thomas could see nothing but disaster ahead. He was convinced Jesus was heading straight for a stoning. But if that is what the Lord determined to do, Thomas was grimly determined to go die with Him. You have to admire His courage, even though it is laced with a degree of pessimism, but it is courage nonetheless.
And there is also a measure of great devotion here. Thomas is expressing a loyal love–he’d follow Christ to death if need be. He didn’t want to live apart from Christ. Thomas thought, “if Jesus dies, then I want to die with Him.” Thomas is expressing the heart of a soldier toward his commander before a battle against a superior enemy. Load your guns, lace up your boots, and get ready to die, boys! Better to die with General Christ, than be left behind alone.
Now hang on–look up here, and don’t be shocked! Students too–Thomas’s devotion is not a rare quality for unique individuals. The willingness to die for Christ is not an exceptional attribute. It’s an expected attribute, a required quality. The willingness to die is necessary for your salvation to be genuine, real, true.
Mark 8:34 to 35 says plainly, “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.’” Luke 14:27 is in your face when the doctor says, “’Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.’”
Carrying a cross is what you do as you’re led to your death. Every true believer in this room is willing to do anything for Christ. Every genuine Christian in this room is willing to die for Christ, confess Christ, share the Gospel, stand up for truth, and willing to die. That is “normal” Christianity. Average Christianity is the person who measures themselves against other Christians in order to evaluate their faith and commitment. And if you’re an average Christian, you’re in trouble today.
Normal Christians are those who measure themselves against the Word of God, and are humbled by the expectations of being like Christ. Thomas was willing to die with Christ–courageous, somewhat pessimistic, but willing to go all the way, to physically die.
Peter boasted he’d die for Christ, but couldn’t back up his talk–yet Thomas actually crossed the Jordan River with Jesus, and headed back up toward Jerusalem, expecting to die. Thomas is an example of strength to the rest of the apostles. It appears they collectively followed his lead at this point and said, “Okay, let’s go and die,” because they all went with Christ to Bethany.
Thomas obviously had a deep devotion to Christ that was infectious enough to influence twelve other men. And his devotion was passionate enough it could not be dampened, even by his own pessimism. Thomas shows us he knew following Christ would not be easy. His courageous devotion led him to be willing to die with Christ, rather than live safe, live comfortable and ultimately forsake Christ. Now turn to John 14 for another look at Thomas.
#2 The Passion of His Devotion
Thomas’s love for Christ shows up again in John 14 where Jesus tells His disciples of His imminent departure in verses 1 to 4, “’Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.’”
This is the upper room, and Christ is describing His future return and their future heavenly home with Him. But the disciples only hear, “Guys, I am going away.” The disciples do not like the going away part. Look at verse 4–Jesus adds, “’And you know the way where I am going.’” What did You say? Going away, know where you are going? Huh?
Thomas now speaks his heart in verse 5, “Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’” You can sense Thomas’s pessimism. We don’t know–how do we know? You’re leaving Jesus? We’ll never get to where you are going. We don’t know how to get there. How are we supposed to know? It’s a better plan to die with you, because at least we could all be together! But if you go, how’re we going to find you?
You can also feel Thomas’s love for Christ–don’t leave us Lord! Thomas loves Christ deeply. His relationship with the Lord was so strong, he never wanted to be separated from Christ. His heart is broken over the idea of Christ leaving them. He is paralyzed, shattered, distraught–he can’t live without Christ. You have to admire, and desire Thomas’s devotion.
Jesus resolves their confusion with one of the greatest verses in the entire Bible, John 14:6. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” This is a crucial text, since it challenges the unbeliever and exposes the make-believer; the phony, church-going Christian.
A recent survey of Christian churches discovered that 70% of all young adults drop out of church, and 35% don’t attend after 30. Why is this happening? Simple–too many churchgoers prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, made a decision, believed certain truths about Christ, but were not born again–they were not transformed and not indwelt with the Holy Spirit, because if they were, they would follow Christ and obey His Word. Jesus gets really pointed in verse 6—look at it. He is the only way. Every single person who dies without surrendering to Christ in repentance and faith is going to Hell. Mother Teresa, Joseph Smith, the Pope, Buddha, Mohammed–all those religious leaders and all their followers are in Hell. No one comes to the Father except through Christ.
But Jesus also says He is the only truth–not your ideas, your interpretation, your thinking, your views, your wisdom–but only God’s Word is Truth. Only the Bible is right, and everything else that disagrees with God’s Word is wrong.
Then the life–the only life God designed for us is life in Christ. Christ is life, and any other purpose, whether marriage, children, friends, money, popularity, fame, a buff body–all other goals short of Christ being your life are off-center. Jesus says, “Thomas, I am the only way.”
Then the Lord continues in verses 7ff to tell His men He is God–He is one with the Father. Jesus is God in a bod. He is God come in the flesh. You see, the Gospel is the good news that God provided one way for you to be right with God. Only by surrendering your life to Christ can you gain abundant life now, and eternal life forever. But Thomas was fearful of being separated from Christ, and sadly his worst nightmare came to pass, and it crushed him. Turn to John 20.
#3 The Sincerity of His Devotion
In John 20, after the death of our Lord on the cross, on Sunday, the disciples gathered together to comfort one another. They were all there–except one. Look at John 20:24, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” It is too bad Thomas was absent, because Jesus came and appeared to them. Even though verse 19 says they had locked themselves in a room for fear of being arrested, the end of verse 19 says, “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”
Thomas missed the whole thing. Why wasn’t Thomas there? It’s possible Thomas was so brokenhearted and melancholy that he found some dark corner to hide in, in order to be all alone and wallow in his misery. Thomas could only see the worst in anything, and now his worst fear has been realized–Jesus was gone, and Thomas was not certain he’d ever see Him again.
He possibly thought, it would have been better to die with Christ than to be separated from Him, like I am right now. I’d rather be alone–after all, it was over, so what’s the use? The One I loved more than life is gone, and it tore his heart out. He was in no mood to socialize with the other ten disciples, even though they were friends. It’s as if Thomas said, “Just leave me alone.”
Later, when they ran into each other, verse 25 says, “So the other disciples were saying to him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’” The disciples were ecstatic, and couldn’t wait to share the good news with Thomas–but someone like Thomas, in his kind of mood, was not going to be cheered up so easily. He is still the pessimist. This news is too good to be true. He only sees the dark side, so verse 25b, “But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’”
This is where Thomas gets his slanderous nickname, “Doubting Thomas”–but it wasn’t pure doubt. It was brokenhearted devotion, mixed with a big dose of pessimism. There is nothing worse than trying to comfort a negative person who has just lost a great love. So don’t be too hard on Thomas–the other disciples didn’t believe in the resurrection until they saw Christ either.
In Mark 16, after Mary told the disciples she had seen the risen Christ, verse 11 says, “When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.” Until Jesus’s appearance to them here in John 20, all the disciples were disbelieving. What set Thomas apart from the other ten was not that his doubt was greater, but that his sorrow was greater. Thomas loved his Savior–he was willing to die with his Savior, and now his Savior was gone.
Thankfully, eight days later, after Jesus appeared to the nine disciples, Thomas finally came around, and was with the men in verse 26. “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” Of course you already know nobody needed to tell Jesus what Thomas had said. The Lord knows what you say and think. And at that moment, Jesus looks right at Thomas and says, verse 27, “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’”
The Lord was amazingly gentle and patient with Thomas. He had erred because of his pessimism, but also because of his deep personal devotion to Christ. It was an error of brokenheartedness, uncertainty and the pain of loneliness. No one could feel like Thomas felt, because so few loved Jesus the way Thomas loved Him. So the Lord was tender with him. The Lord understands our weaknesses and bents. He understands our doubts, and sympathizes with our uncertainty. He is patient with our pessimism.
Thomas had sincere devotion to Christ–he was genuine. So it is no surprise how Thomas responded to the Lord’s challenge. In verse 28, “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” My Master and my Creator, my Lord and my God–Thomas calls Jesus Christ God, and Jesus accepts his declaration. Jesus Christ created you, and He’s the only one who can redeem you.
Suddenly, Thomas’s melancholy pessimism was forever banished by the appearance of the Lord. In that moment Thomas was transformed into a missionary evangelist. A short time later, at Pentecost with the birth of the Church, along with the other apostles, Thomas was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for ministry to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
There is considerable ancient testimony that suggests Thomas carried the Gospel message as far as India. There is to this day a small hill near the airport in Madras, India where Thomas is said to have been buried. Plus there are churches in south India whose roots are traceable to the beginning of the Church, and tradition tells us they were founded by Thomas himself. The best history says Thomas died by being run through with a spear. It is almost fitting, isn’t it, to suffer martyrdom that way, for one whose faith came of age when he saw the spear mark in his Master’s side, and for one who longed to be reunited with his Lord?
A) Are you a BLESSED believer, or a make-believer?
The Lord actually has some special words for you today, who have not seen Christ physically, yet you believe Him as your Lord and your God. In John 20, as the doubting Thomas event wraps up, Jesus says to Thomas in verse 29, “Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’” Are you blessed? Then apostle John wraps it up with these words in verses 30 and 31, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Have you admitted that you are sinful to the core of your being, there is nothing good in you at all, and you desperately need someone to forgive you, make you right, wash you from the inside, and empower you to be able to know God? Have you put your entire life in Christ’s hands, believing He is God who became a man, lived perfectly, then offered Himself to take your place on the cross and die for your sins, taking your punishment, then rose from the dead in order to provide salvation to those who will turn to Him in repentance and faith? Have you given up trying to save yourself, live nice, be good, talk religious, talk about Jesus now and then–and come to the point where you trade all that you are for all that He is–that He is the only way, the only truth and the only life?
Are you certain you have life in Christ, or could you be those who are deceiving themselves–deluded that they know Christ, but from their lifestyle of convenience, occasional service, marginal attendance, limited relational commitment to Christians show themselves as one who isn’t willing to die for Christ? They have not given their life to Christ, they’ve just added Christ to their life as an insurance policy against Hell, or as a comfort when life gets hard. It’s still all about you, not Christ. If Christ is your life, then Christ is central in everything of your life. Are you a blessed believer, or a make-believer? Test yourself to see if you’re in the faith–are you willing to give all to Christ? And is Christ involved in everything of your life?
B) Are you DEVOTED to Christ?
Do you want to be with Him more than anything?
Do you treasure the times you have in the Word and prayer?
Do you have times in the Word and prayer–just you and Him?
Are you longing for heaven?
Does He affect your time usage and the way you use your money? Do you give sacrificially to Him consistently?
Do you show your devotion by serving Him in the church with your giftedness, and proclaim His Gospel to the world?
When people talk about you, do they say you are devoted to Christ, or do they say nothing at all because there is nothing to say? I dare you–ask your friends, your spouse, your children or your parents. Ask–do you see me as devoted to Christ?
C) Are you repentant for your PESSIMISTIC bent?
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
Even in the midst of David’s deep confession for his sin of murder and adultery, he says in Psalm 32:11, “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”
To remain pessimistic is to remain unrepentant. Christians are to give thanks, to rejoice, to be glad. This life is difficult, and this planet is fallen, but because we have Christ, we are to be the ones who are thankful, rejoicing and glad. No one wants to hear good news from someone who never smiles and always points out what is wrong. No Christian wants to hang out with a believer who lives in dark corners, and tries to make you live there with them. Pessimism is sin, and must be repented of. Like Thomas be devoted–but not like Thomas, don’t be pessimistic. Let’s pray.