“Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:16-19).
Unhappiness is a rather vague term, yet it encompasses so many little indefinite sore spots that often places the person who achieves true happiness in an enviable position. Happiness, then, becomes an important part of the healing process.
When asked to write down what they considered happiness to be, a small group of students came up with a variety of definitions. A few of them are:
Happiness is a cool drink of water on a hot summer day. Happiness is greeting your family after a long absence. Happiness is bringing a recovered patient home from the hospital. Happiness is love. Happiness is a telephone call from someone you love. Happiness is knowing God is not far away.
Everyone can add definitions of his own, for happiness has many connotations. It is a state of well-being, comfort, delight, satisfaction, bliss, enjoyment, pleasure, success. For further enlightenment, read a few bumper stickers which seem profuse in wisdom: I read that Happiness is Skiing, Kayaking, having a German Shepherd, sharing your home with a cat (?), ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
It would appear that happiness is on tap for us to reach for … Actually, however, the keys to happiness must be earned. To enjoy the happiness we seek, we must understand these keys; use them, then pass the knowledge on to others. The late great cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in one of his “Peanuts” cartoons depicts Linus with his ever-present security blanket and Charlie Brown sitting on the curb. Charlie asks, “What’s that dotted line on the blanket for, Linus?” Linus proceeds to tear the blanket in half; then he offers one part to Charlie. He says, “Happiness should be shared!”
Resentment creates an attitude and environment for the performance of expected flaws. Think of the old vinyl records, and the screeeeching sound when the needle is accidentally bumped. Oh, the record will still play; the music will still be there, but now the mind begins to anticipate the screeeech. Learn to develop an attitude of expecting the good in life, not the flaws and unintentional happenings that can set your nerves on edge if you dwell on them. Learn to recognize the best in life, then share them with others. Ask God to help you overcome the flaw of resentment. I have learned I cannot change the past, but I can build on it. Remember Christ’s words, “… do not be anxious about tomorrow …”
Appreciate blessings and forget about those things you do not have and cannot acquire. Understand the importance of things more valuable than money. Live and enjoy the present. It is the only time you have … right now. Work toward a realistic but challenging goal. Consider others; help them when they need it. Think optimistically. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The words written by Paul to the church at Philippi are appropriate as closing thoughts: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 CEV).
Francis Mason Pastor Mason