Trying to Make the Unhappy Happy

There probably isn’t much future in this, God. We like to be liked, and we love to be loved. At least some of us. Well intentioned psychology has partly vilified some among us as people pleasers.

Take away any personal tendencies, and we are left with more practical concerns. The customer-service aspects of church prevail. We want people to be happy. We want them to attend in numbers that keep the doors open and the accounts full.

But we sense that service in your kingdom is not about saying “yes” to everyone who comes along. We can sell the store too cheaply, we realize. Some will mark one care off their list only to get upset about another. Eventually, we even suspect that much of their anguish has little if anything to do with you. Or us.

Some people are simply committed to being unhappy. Only you have the power they need.

In your church, it is not popular for people to concede this fact. They may not have even realized it yet. But they do not want to feel different. They have become used to their malaise. Their funk fits them well. Meanwhile, we keep trying. We expend personal, financial, and energy resources—goodwill, too. All in the cause of appeasing them.

Do I have a word that will thaw the heart grown pathologically cold?

Do I have an initiative that will charm them?

Do I have a story funny enough or a show entertaining enough?

Not likely. There may be no such thing, Lord, as trying to make the unhappy happy. And if we do, we may not be serving you as faithfully as we could.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

The post originally appeared in A Hungry Soul Desperate to Taste God’s Grace: Honest Prayers for Life by Charles Qualls.

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