Finding true happiness in todays society ,PART TWO
Finding true happiness in todays society ,PART TWO
Part 2 of finding true happiness in todays society
Let’s look now at the be-happy attitude questions
• What would it take to make you really happy?
• What is holding you back from being happy?
• How can you help others discover the secret to happiness?
Now I want to look at Happiness is generated when and then I’ll go into each point.
• Happiness is generated when we ask for help
• Happiness is generated when we allow others to comfort us
• Happiness is generated when we remain cool, calm, and correct
• Happiness is generated when we long for significance
• Happiness is generated when we forgive others
• Happiness is generated when we keep our eyes fixed on God
• Happiness is generated when we learn to be peacemakers
• Happiness is generated when we are mistreated
Let’s look at these points!
Happiness is generated when we ask for help
(Matthew 5:3)- There is a tendency for people to believe that they would be happy....
• If only I weren’t under such financial stress
• If only I weren’t sick all the time
• If only I could be successful at...
• If only I could find someone to love me
Even if all the “if only’s” come true, they could not guarantee happiness. Social scientists along
with medical doctors have been looking more carefully at this. What they have learned is that,
ironically, as the level of marital provisions has risen, the level of emotional health has declined.
Usually material indicators, such as poverty, employment rates, and per capital income, relect
life satisfaction. However, recent studies indicate that for the first time the converse is true.
Even though our society in America has never been healthier from a materialistic perspective,
we have an all-time crisis in depression, suicidal tendencies, and teen pregnancies among our
children and teens. The good news is there is a time-proven formula available. Jesus gave us
the secret over two thousand years ago in the Beatitudes, or so called Be-happy Attitudes.
The Beatitudes are principles that teach us how we can be happy in spite of difficulties.
Even if we mourn, even if we make mistakes, even if we are persecuted and treated unfairly,
we can still be happy. The preamble to the Sermon on the Mount, these beatitudes provide a
spiritual foundation for living a life that is joyful--- no matter what! What a gift they are to us
In fact, don’t be surprised if they begin to sound familiar. Some of these principles
have since been adopted as part of twelve step programs. The first principle is being willing to
ask for help:”I need help! I can’t do it alone!” Regardless of our state in life there are times
when all of us will need to ask for help.
It is amazing how reluctant we are to admit that we
need help. It is a vulnerable, risky place to be. What will they think of me? The truth is that
usually when we ask for help, people are typically impressed and eager to provide a helping
The wonderful thing about asking for a helping hand and receiving it is that we are then
what much more prepared to help others when they need it.
People are much more inclined
to ask for help from someone they know has also had to ask for help than from someone who
puts on the appearance of never needing help.
When you ask for help, you are not only helping yourself; you are helping others!
Happiness is generated when we allow others to comfort us!
(Matthew 5:4)- Why do bad things happen to good people? This question has haunted pastors
for years. There is a perception that if we live good lives, we will be happy, but if we live bad
lives, we deserve to have bad things happen to us.
This mentality appears to stem from
childhood and schooling, where the good little child got the rewards of a good report card,
allowance, praise, and so forth, whereas the bad child lost recess, got bad grades, and was
put on restriction.
We seem to carry this mentality with us into adulthood and the real world,
where our circumstances are vulnerable to multiple variables that are out of our control. When
people ask us, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “We tell them they are asking the
The healthy question is, “What do good people do when bad things happen to
them?” The answer Jesus gives to this question in the beatitude is, “When bad things happen
to good people, they will be comforted.”
Over and over we have walked with people who have
had to endure enormous hardship and terrible loss, and over and over we have seen God
comfort them along the way.
People have said, “Life shouldn’t be this hard.” But Jesus teaches
us that it is possible to be happy even when sorrow casts a long, black shadow. Trouble will
either turn you into a bitter person or a better person. With help, you can turn your negative
into a positive, your minus into a plus, your cross into an empty tomb. It’s possible to be
happy anyways if:
1. You don’t blame God
2. You don’t blame yourself
3. You don’t blame others
Blame accomplishes nothing, except to hinder the comfort that is part of the healing process.
If rather than focusing on blame, you can focus on turning your scar into a star, you will find
releif from your grief, you can turn your mourning into morning.
As much as your situation
hurts, know God cares. He weeps as much as you do. That’s why he sends his promised Holy
Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Claim that promised One today. You can nurse your hurt, rehearse
your hurt, or you can reverse your hurt, its all up to you—choose healing today!
Happiness is generated when we remain cool, calm, and corrected (Matthew 5:5)
When pushed, threatened, or mistreated, we all find it easy to lose our cool, spout off, or
It takes tremendous emotional maturity to stand our ground coolly and calmly and to
be willing to be corrected. It is not enough to be collected; it is important to be willing to face
or mistakes, learn from them, and grow in the process.
This beatitude has unfortunately been
misinterpreted through the years to mean that being meek means to run away, give without
taking, allowing ourselves to be doormats who let people walk over us.
To be a martyr is just
as damaging as being argumentative. Rather, being meek means negotiation, stating your
position, discussing options, but being willing to admit when you are wrong, being willing to
accept help, being willing to say you’re sorry, without becoming defensive and argumentative.
To help clarify what we mean by meek, we offer the following acrostic:
E- Emotionally stable
Blessed are the mighty- The powerful are mighty when they have learned to use their strength
for good. They turn their problems into projects, their difficulties into dividends, their obstacles
into opportunities, their stumbling blocks into stepping stones. They use their strength to help
Blessed are the emotionally stable- The emotionally stable are those who control how they
emotionally respond to thier ups and downs. They are those who can resist temptation to lash
out, to quit or to give in to impulsive whims and fancies.
They are patient and persistent. In
the process, they are frequently the ones other people go to for help.
Blessed are the educable- The educable are those who are willing to continually learn.
Frequently called “lifelong learners,” they recognize that there is more power in one of the
most sought after by employers in new employees.
They would rather have someone who
is pliable, moldable, reachable than one who is arrogant and unwilling to learn or be a team
Blessed are the kind- The kind those who are sweet, sensitive, thoughtful. They are those who
are willing to say, “It’s your turn.” It doesn’t mean that they won’t take their turn, but they don’t
insist on pushing their way to the front of the line either.
They are the quiet souls who write
notes of comfort, who will pray with and for others who are hurting, who will bring an apple
pie to a family who is going through a tough time, and whom you will find serving weekly at
a soup kitchen. Anyone can be meek. Anyone can be blessed.
Happiness is generated when we long for significance (Matthew 5:6) - Satisfaction is a fleeting,
frequently futile objective. People who diet are never skinny enough, people who are rich are
never rich enough, people who are successful are never successful enough. When is enough,
The never-ending, vicious cycle of striving for more- whatever “more” is—can lead to
a sense of dissatisfaction and its kissing cousin, unhappiness, even despair. Jesus provides the
key to break the destructive cycle and reverse the trend toward a healthier, happier mind set.
The secret according to this beatitude is not the dissatisfaction, not the seeking of more—rather
it is the object of our hunger, our thirst. Do we hunger and thirst for more money, more fame,
more success, more sexual gratification?
If so, then we are likely to remain frustrated and end
up driving ourselves down a dead end road. Like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, we will
find ourselves only spinning round and round and getting nowhere.
But if we hunger and thirst
to make a difference, to help the needy, to comfort the sad, to assist the helpless, we have
moved beyond seeking success to seeking significant.
This is what Jesus meant when he gave
this fourth beatitude: “Blessed are those who long to be significant-those who long to make a
difference.” Righteousness is much more than refraining from doing hurtful things.
It is possible to be pure, but that is not necessarily the same as being righteous. If a girl has a
spotless white pinafore because she has not left her room all day, whereas a girl has mud all
over her dress because she jumped into a mud puddle to retrieve a friend’s priceless locket,
who is righteous—the pure girl or the muddy girl?
The secret to happiness, according to this
beatitude, is to find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it. When you have sold yourself out
to a God-given dream with the purpose of making a positive difference—when you hunger and
thirst to leave a significant change—you will be satisfied and truly happy!
Happiness is generated when we forgive others (Matthew 5:7)—There is probably no topic
people resist than forgiving others. People get really uncomfortable and sometimes downright
angry when they think they are being told to forgive.
Frequently, the initial hurt, the still
festering wound, aches all over again when a person just thinks about forgiving. Unwilling to
feel such discomfort, we avoid the issue at all costs, even to the cost of our health, both
mental and physical.
We would rather make ourselves sick than have to forgive someone who
hurt us. The opposite of the be-happy attitude is the un-happy attitude. The un-happy attitude
I’ll get even. “the un happy attitude withholds the affection and kindness: “
I’ll show them.” .” The un-happy attitude, unfortunately results in isolation and loneliness, and
may lead to health problems caused by the stress that accompanies such negative responses.
Is it worth risking such results to withhold mercy from someone? Or is it worth doing the hard,
hard work of forgiving, if it means restored health and happiness? Perhaps it helps to realize
that forgiveness is not synonymous with approval or even acceptance.
When you forgive
people, it doesn’t mean you accept what they did as okay. It doesn’t mean you approve of
their actions. It doesn’t give them permission to repeat the offense. Forgiveness means you
can think of what was done and not let it bother you. It means you can let it go.
if they are going to repeat the offense, they will do so regardless of whether you forgive them
or not. It is folly to think that by withholding forgiveness we are somehow restraining repeat
Quite the contrary; Often when people have been forgiven, they are less likely to
repeat, and even if they do, it is not your responsibility to control everyone else’s behavior---
only your own. The question always arises: “But do I have to forgive someone who has not
asked for forgiveness?”
Isn’t repentance a prerequisite for forgiveness? This argument has
been found on the premise that “a broken and contrite heart, you, God, you will not despise
(psalm 51:17). Let’s just say that it is easier to forgive and be forgiven when repentance is a
part of the equation.
But it is likely that there will be multiple times in your life when someone
will hurt you terribly and never ask for forgiveness. Then what? Do you hold that grudge for
the rest of your life? Remember that forgiveness is more for you than for that one you are
forgiving. To forgive or not forgive—that is the question. One leads to health and happiness,
the other to allowing the hurt to live on and keep on hurting. Which do you choose?
Happiness is generated when we keep our eyes focused on God! (Matthew 5:
This be- happy attitude teaches the joy that comes from experiencing faith in God. Whereas
doubt and uncertainty erode satisfaction and joy, faith instills joy that comes when you are
connected to something significant. In ministry, we hear a common theme from people:
“I wish I had more faith!” Corrie ten boom, the author of the classic book The hiding place,
was a Protestant Dutch survivor of three different concentration camps, including Ravensbruck.
The ten boom family lived in the rooms above the watch shop that they owned in Harlaam,
Netherlands. During the Second World War, they hid Jews in secret rooms in their home,
hence the title, The Hiding Place.
After the ten booms were betrayed by neighbors, the
gestapo were unable to find the Jews hidden behind a false wall (and later rescued and saved),
but the family was arrested based solely on illegal materials found in the home. The ten Booms
were treated no better than the Jewish people, who were also in the camps with whom they
Corrie was the sole survivor of the family, but she went on to found a powerful
international ministry, telling the story of God’s faithfulness in captivity. During her many
travels and lectures, Corrie, a woman who is remembered for her amazing faith, loved to tell
the story of when she was a girl.
One day she expressed to her father her fear that she did not
have enough faith. Her father asked her, “Corrie, when we take a trip on the rain, do I give you
the ticket a year before you need it? A month before? Even a day before?” “No Papa.”
“Why is that?” “Because I might lose it?”
“No, because you don’t need it then. I wait to give to you until you need it. So it is with our
faith in God. He waits to give it to us until we need it. But when we need it, do not fear, He
will supply all your need, especially your need to have faith.”
Corrie testifies that this was
indeed the case for her and her family. When they were a their deepest need, enduring the
agonies of the concentration camps, God was there supplying the faith she needed. Corrie
wrote in her later years: “some people think I have a great faith, but that is not true. I do not
have great faith---I have a faith in a great God!"