“You are like salt for the whole human race. But if salt loses its saltiness there is no way to make it salty again. It has become worthless, so it is thrown out and people trample on it.” ~ Matthew 5:13
Jesus Christ stated that we are like the salt of the earth, for in us we preserve His glory, His love, His mercy, and His forgiveness, much like salt is used to preserve foods for our consumption and nourishment. I find it hard to talk about happiness without first making the correlation between Gods glory, love, mercy, and that of His forgiveness to that of the source of our own personally happiness. For when I read the Bible it becomes perfectly clear that we find happiness not in others, not in our own deeds; it cannot be found in the pursuit of money, lust, or in any other type of greed. But rather true happiness is found and sustained in our spiritual growth, in our belief in God, it is found within our heart as we should first center our lives on Gods teachings and his Words and less on ourselves, our wants, or our ambitions.
In this reflection I want to illustrate how we often times look to other people to make us happy, we look to things, or accomplishments, and sometimes some of us look to the approval of a good deed waiting for the assurance that comes with the serenade of a job well done. The Happiness series I hope will guide you on a different kind of path which redirects your source for happiness from that of self, to that of living a life directed by God. It has been through my own personal experiences that which I testify through this series of posts that has lead me on a trek where I seek not to please others, myself, or to satisfy some inner craving based solely on the desires of this world, which will pass away, but rather on acting on behalf of God, doing his work, impacting others in a positive manner daily and the inner happiness I have found no matter the situation because I have based my life on Our Father in heaven. This path in which I speak is the source and the starting point to finding your true self, but I must warn you, it is a hard road, it is devoid of any kind of easy attainment and it is not for the weary but for the people of God who are ready to put away the world and pick up their own cross.
The first sin we must deal with on this road to personal happiness is the bad habit of judging others for it is written;
“1 Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, 2 for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.” ~ Matthew 7:1-2
Because of this, I tell you to put away your judgmental heart. For how can you be truly happy when like children you see what your neighbor has done, or not done in following a rule or not following a rule and then behind their back you complain saying to others, “If it was me I would have done…” For I ask, “How do you know you would or would not have done something unless you ware that persons shoes and lived and experienced life as they have, unless you assumed their place, who are you to judge the actions of another person?” Be happy for those who faced the test and that passed it. Let nothing of ill words come forth from your mouth. For in putting this into practice you will guard your tongue against any kind of false witness, from lying, cheating, or steeling another person’s glory that has been assigned and or blessed by God. In the observance of this you will show respect, receive respect in kind, you will show yourself honorable, and receive grace in return. In this you will find happiness.
Secondly, the sin that must be dealt with swiftly is the compulsion to want to punish others for what you have perceived they have done to you. For this is revenge and goes hand in hand with a judgmental heart. For the Apostle Paul wrote very clearly;
“17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, says the Lord. 20 Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him: If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coats of fire on his head.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~ Romans 12:17-21
For in observance of this you shall find hardship within the judgments of man, but will find great favor with God. For where there is great favor there is great happiness and even more love.
“1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” ~ Romans 12:17-21
Therefore, it is just that you turn around and leave this place of the judgments of others, and look into yourself and ask, “Am I not a sinner too?” If one has the compulsion to measure, then measure one’s self. I often times find this exercise helpful when I feel the need to spout a judgment onto someone who has made me upset or mad. Walk into a room at work or at home, looking around at everyone who is present before you and then ask yourself, “If this room was on fire and I had the key to unlocking the door that leads outside and away from the heat of the blaze, who amongst these people would I save if given a choice?” If the answer is anything less than everyone then you failed the test. Because God wants to save every last person on this earth who has ever lived, or will live. Happiness is found in the pursuit to being as much like God as we can be. You cannot be happy if you are judgmental because within that action you have thus become angry and rebellious. Angry and rebellious people by design are not happy people.
Fourthly, find it within yourself to let go of those things people have done against you, give it to God, be merciful to those who are without mercy, be forgiving to those who refuse to forgive you of your transgressions for it is written;
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven.” ~ Luke 6:37
I am constantly reminded how often Jesus forgave others, how fast he was to forgive. He was quick on his feet in pardoning the women who committed adultery found in John 8:3-11, or the women who bathed his feet with her tears found in Luke 7:47-50, and let us not forget the murderer who was being crucified with Christ found in Luke 23:41-43. These three references are but a small sampling of Jesus and the acts of absolute forgiveness that he had demonstrated openly. I testify that forgiving is the key to happiness, because within it; do you then find absolution. When you pray ask God to forgive others who have hurt you first before yourself as it is written;
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that you’re Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” ~ Mark 11:25
In the observance of this you find humility, and in humility do you find your humanity.
May God bless you all and keep you safe this holiday season.
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