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FAITH: Can we really be 100% happy?

Karen Stevens

The Bible says we are to be “kind and compassionate with one another.”  Sometimes that is easier said than done!  Certain things pop up in life that can test your patience and alter your mood.  You may have a strained relationship with a family member or a friend; a conflict at work or come across something a stranger, or spouse does, that triggers you.  We sometimes forget that showing kindness takes practice—because we are only human.  It does not always come naturally.

I often wonder who the Bible is talking about when it gives us instructions on being kind to one another?  Is it our Christian Brothers, or everyone?  The reason I ask this is because God says do not waste your time with people who will not listen to the truth.

Matthew 10:14 the Amplified version – “Whoever does not welcome you, nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust [of it] off your feet [in contempt, breaking all ties].”

In Biblical times, when leaving Gentile cities, pious Jews often shook the dust from their feet to show their separation from Gentile practices.  I do not believe that we should be mean to people, or call them names, etc., but shouldn’t we move on?  If the disciples shook the dust of a Jewish town from their feet, it would show their separation from Jews who rejected their Messiah.  Don’t you think we should do the same as the Disciples did, per Jesus’s instructions?

I know a lot of Preachers teach kindness to everyone.

In Matthew 7:15 it warns us of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  A wolf in sheep’s clothing is an idiom of Biblical origin used to describe those playing a role contrary to their real character.  The very contact with them is dangerous, particularly false teachers.  So being kind to everyone is not always an option.  There is a way to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Emotional manipulation is a primary tool of the wolf.  Usually they play on your emotions – spiritually, and physically.  This could be a friend, or an enemy.  So how can we balance out our Christian life without being manipulated by wolves?  How can we really be happy?

Psalms 128:2 states – “When you eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you will be happy, and it will go well for you.”

I guess that means working hard will make you happy.

Proverbs 3:13 states “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding.”

I can agree with both scriptures, but does that mean if you don’t find wisdom or work hard, that you will not be happy?  I know a lot of unemployed, not very wise people, and they seem to be very happy.

Hebrews 1:9 states “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

I love righteousness, and hate unfairness, but I am not happy all the time.

The Oil of Joy is also mentioned in Isaiah 61:3 – “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

So, it is really not about our happiness, but about God’s glory.  It sounds like God wants us to be happy, like Adam and Eve were.  They were very happy in the Garden of Eden…until.

They did not know unhappiness, or sin until Satan tricked them.  I think maybe the less we get tricked, the happier we will be.  But you do have to train yourself against your flesh on all things.

Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I think Galatians 6:10 sums up how we can achieve happiness – “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

So make yourself happy with warm, gooey fuzzies, by being good to others, especially Christians, but at the same time beware of the wolves.

 

Karen Y. Stevens, Executive Director, Meals on Wheels