If one were to cut out all the political debate on Facebook one would think that the focus of mankind is to chase after happiness. A state of perpetual happiness; a life without conflict, without suffering, and without pain. It seems so simple really. According to the wisdom of Facebook statuses, all a person has to do to be happy is to think positive thoughts (constantly), get rid of or ignore anyone who is negative or causes turmoil and suffering, and only surround yourself with those who love and support you. Well, if it’s so simple, why do I keep seeing these same posts from the same people over and over again?
Because the fact is, no one can be happy all the time. Those negative thoughts will come upon a person with an unstoppable force. Those negative people you want to ignore will get louder and there is no way to completely cut them out of your life. Then even your loved ones which you depend on for support will let you down, just as you have let them down, time and time again. Then your pursuit of happiness has to start all over again. You have to work yourself back into a state of happiness by cycling through all the above mentioned methods, over and over and over again.
Don’t be a slave to happiness. To always be in pursuit of such happiness is to enslave yourself to an unrealistic, unachievable goal or feeling. Life this side of the grave sucks and it will always suck until we die in Christ or when He returns. Sin is what makes life suck. The sins and suffering committed against you. The sins you commit against others and the suffering you cause them in your selfish, self-centered pursuit of happiness.
Being happy all the time is an impossibility. The consequences of your own actions can cause your own suffering. For example, you tell a lie and get caught, you have to suffer with the reputation of being dishonest. Then there is the suffering that comes upon you that is completely beyond your control. You’re fired from your job, your spouse has an affair and leaves you, your addiction rears its ugly head and won’t be denied, some crime is committed against you, the diagnosis is cancer, or a loved one dies. O dear gurus of Facebook and purveyors of prosperity gospel (Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer), are we supposed to be just suck it up, think positive thoughts and be happy again? Get real.
Suffering and sadness are just as much a part of this world as happiness is. There is nothing wrong with being sad or grieving. But I will tell you this, Christianity is the ONLY confession in the world that has an answer to suffering and offers hope to those who are suffering and are unhappy. All other religions in the world would have you cycle through the same futile cycle of thinking positive thoughts, cutting out negative influences, and surrounding yourself with positive people. All these so-called religions point you inward toward yourself and your own efforts. All you have to do is be honest with yourself as you look at your own personal history and you will see how futile and frustrating that is.
Christianity, however, is based upon the perfect work of God who became man. Christ is bone of our bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Christ did not come preaching and teaching peace, love, and happiness. He came to suffer and die for us. To take our suffering upon Himself and to take upon Himself the sufferings we have caused others. Christ came to die for you, not to teach you how to be happy. Put your faith in the crucified and risen God-Man who knows your joys and your sorrows not just because He is God and knows everything, but because He has experienced them first hand in our flesh.
When sadness, suffering, or persecution come seek the Lord where He may be found so that you will be given the strength to endure. Find Him in His Word read and proclaimed. Find Him by confessing your sins and the sufferings you have caused others before your pastor and hearing the comforting words of Christ that you are forgiven all of your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Find Christ at the Altar in His Holy Supper where His Flesh and Blood are given to you for the forgiveness of your sins, the forgiveness of the sins committed against you, and for the strength to persevere in your suffering. Only in Christ will you find contentment, peace, and happiness. Because He has earned it and He freely gives it. There is no need to remain a slave to some self-centered Facebook concept of happiness. Christ has set you free, and you are free indeed.