This one seemingly simple statement can cause mountains of grief and heartache.
If we believe that we have a fundamental right to be happy, we will make all kinds of poor choices and fall headlong into sin.
First of all, any time we believe we have a right, any right, we are going to demand it, fight for it and live in such a way to claim it – after all we deserve it, it’s our right!
The problem is this heart attitude leads to a me-first, self-centered approach to life. When what we believe to be our right is thwarted we are prone to grumbling, ungratefulness, discontentment and anger.
On the other side, when we believe we have a right we are inclined to orchestrate life in ways as to fulfill that right. Case in point. If we believe we have a right to be happy we will be inclined to make choices and decisions that make us happy.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone justify a sinful relationship by advocating that they or another person involved has a right to be happy. The belief that they have a right to be happy supersedes their call to godliness and holiness. Akin to the claim of the right to be happy, many believe that God wants them to be happy, therefore if “such and such” makes them happy it must be okay with God.
I have seen this over and over, sadly enough in older people because somehow they seemed to think that when a person reaches a certain age they can do whatever pleases them, whatever makes them happy regardless of what God’s Word says. So although they would frown upon a young couple living together before marriage because it is sinful, somehow it’s all right for two elderly people to live together to spare losing one’s Social Security benefits because, after all, “They have a right to be happy.”
You can see how this seemingly simple statement can cause mountains of grief and heartache. Believing this lie is a heart issue that will manifest itself in all kinds of different ways in life. Yes, it can certainly lead to sin when personal happiness is of greater importance than following Jesus.
Happiness in and of itself is not sinful, in fact it is delightful, but when it is the driving motivation of the heart it can and will lead us into sin.
God does speak of happiness in His Word:
Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. …Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! … Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding …He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he… He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. (i)
Want happiness? Be happy with a relationship with the Lord and the glory, beauty and joy that it brings.
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!
iJob 5:17; Psalm 144:15; Psalm 146:5; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 14:21