When I was about age 10 my 17-year-old sister came home one day and said, “The important thing is that you do what makes you happy.”
Many years later I met a teenage girl who said, “I just want to be popular.” Years later I’m convinced perhaps half the young people in the USA want to be popular so much they’ll do anything for approval from others.
Apostle Paul told us not to live by the judgments of men but rather by the judgments of God. So, I’ll consider this for a minute or two.
I did a bit of study about an “emotional tone scale” chart. It can tell us a lot about a person’s mental state and how they will behave in many situations.
Let’s suppose this person is chronically fearful. If this person knows any happiness at all it’s just a few moments feeling like he/she is in control over others, and is not in danger. This is not a temporary state. This nearly psychotic person is always on the lookout for trouble. So what makes this person “happy” is just a few minutes lack of terror.
A little higher on the tone scale is “unexpressed resentment also called “covert hostility.” In this psychological state, the person only wants popularity to do harm to others. He thinks he’s happy when someone else is in pain – especially if he caused the pain! If he’s torturing someone he finds this a grand source of entertainment. So, would we want to judge others by his standard? I should hope you said “no.”
Next up the ladder coming out of psychosis is the person who is chronically Angry. ANGRY about everything and everyone. Starts a fight at the drop of a hat. His way to be happy is also to brutalize, so “he just wants to be happy” by killing someone, or perhaps a whole city full of them. He’s promiscuous, sadistic, abuses people including children, and upsets everyone. He’s not angry sometimes, he’s angry all the time. So, the best he can hope for with “happy” is to rise to the next tone level which is called “Boredom.”
The person who is chronically bored and indifferent is so “easy going” and “well adjusted” because he will robotically go about his job and the rest of his life he’s happy with a beer and the spectator sports on TV. If he can see over his belly to the television, he’s “happy.” How’s that for a standard by which to judge the world or judge others?
As we move into emotional tones above Boredom into mild and strong interest, we find people who are happy to help, Happy to accomplish or produce something that is helpful and useful. The people in this chronic emotional tone level are happy to help others, and are happy to make for a better world. They can rise higher to feel serene for a few minutes and they can drop into anger or fear for a few minutes, solve the problem, eliminate the cause, and then go back to being moderately to strongly interested in life and what they are doing.
The girl who wants to be popular will see all of her “friends” leave high school and scatter across the world for college and work. Being popular was a temporary pleasure that means nothing.
What do I think of this idea of being “happy?” Happy is a relative value based upon the judgments of people and those people are trying to lecture God. This is like a 2-year-old trying to tell you he has made his major life decisions and it’s time for you to let him work out the rest of his life himself. Neither position seems very viable.
Do not live by the judgments of “men” because men don’t know what they’re doing. Be strong, tough, independent. Don’t live for surprises. Go find out how the world is doing and then follow or form a moral view far higher and stronger than their own.
Forty-percent of “The World’s” people quite honestly, are never happy unless they’re complaining or hurting someone. They don’t want to help others. They’re busy robbing, harming, getting girls pregnant out of wedlock, stealing or otherwise using and abusing others. The more they can cause others to stay impoverished the more control they think they have and therefore they think they’ve found a way to be happy. So long as others live like wage slaves beneath them, they’re “happy.”
Jesus knew he was on his way to The Cross but he still did what he could to help others. Pilot wanted nothing to do with his death. He was obviously innocent and no guile or other misdeeds could be found in him. Jesus was God on earth and He was happy to help others, right up to the moment he told a thief hanging on a cross beside his, that the man would be forgiven and saved.
No! The important thing is NOT doing what makes you happy, or popular. What is important is doing what God wants you to do and feeling happy to do it, because if you continue doing that you’ll be saved and living with God forever, which is a lot better than drinking beer and peering over your belly to watch baseball and soccer games!