Happiness, or joy, is not a state of selfishness or self-centeredness. It is simply a positive approach to life, and there is no guilt or shame attached to such a thing. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says, “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil — this is God’s gift to man.”
For some time now, I have been praying a certain prayer to God: “Dear God, no matter what is happening in my life around me, help me to find joy in your Holy Spirit today.” I encourage people in my church to pray this as well because I believe we can choose to embrace God’s peace and joy no matter how difficult our lives may be.
I also think it is selfish to hoard your happiness and not try and share it with everyone you meet. The joy of the Lord is a gift that can be shared, and I believe it pleases God when we do our best to spread joy to others. If you are happy and comfortable in your life, invite others who need a pick-me-up (and everyone can use a pick-me-up) to join you in your blessings.
Pray that the people of this world who do not know God’s happiness can find it today, no matter what life is throwing at them. And pray for God’s inspiration to spread joy and happiness to everyone who needs it. God is love, peace and joy. As people of God, we should spread love, peace and joy as often as we can.
Rev. Laura Hutchinson, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
It’s OK to be happy even when others are suffering
We live in very challenging times with trials and trouble on every hand — mass killings of innocent people, broken homes, death, divorce, unemployment, poverty and sickness all point to the misery that we witness, or experience, daily.
It is not humanly possible to eliminate or avoid situations that cause misery. The Bible tells us that misery comes to the rich as well as the poor.
It is our relationship with Christ, not tangible things or worldly possessions, that makes us happy. It is not selfish to be happy with all of the misery around us because Christ still works through us to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of those who are suffering.
We are called to have a heart for hurting people and they should see God in us. We should not be viewed as apathetic or insensitive because we find happiness in spite of all that is going wrong in the world.
Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18 KJV.
Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston