A False Happy – the Friend of Evil

“Where does this happy feeling come from? JESUS!

Where does this happy feeling come from? JESUS!

This happy feeling comes from Jesus! Everyday He more than pleases!

That’s where this happy feeling comes from.”

Luke 22:42-44 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

A false happy is typically taught in our churches, beginning with classes for the very youngest ages. This theology is often most evident in songs we learned in our Sunday School classes, VBS programs, and even in numbers of choruses used in worship. “I am a Christian. I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. A Christian is the happiest person on earth.” The thing flies with very young children, but as we grow older???

I suggest that false happy is false. That it is not a biblical, true representation of what it means to follow Jesus. And worse, it sets us up for denial of the reality of evil and thus makes the attacks of the wicked upon us even easier to launch. See it? If we have been taught in church from the youngest age that people who know Jesus are happy people, then are we not going to go into “stuff it” mode when evil touches us? “I won’t think about that. I am supposed to be happy. It’s just me.”

That is to say, when the false happy begins to break down, who ya gonna blame? Yourself! Not the wicked one who is causing the pain, trauma and grief, but YOU are the problem. I mean, there must be something wrong with you because everyone else seems to be saying that Jesus gives us happy feelings and everyday He more than pleases those who know Him.

Some of those songs may be catchy. You may have sentimental attachment to them. But they are just wrong. They cause real harm. They need to be round-filed.

4 thoughts on “A False Happy – the Friend of Evil

  1. Indeed, pastor, the round file gets scant much-needed use within Christendom.

    It isn’t only our own internal voice that quickly will give rise to chastising any unhappy state of our being, it is also many a supposed Christian brother or sister who will, seemingly, eagerly do so.

    I have found a great many people in church have no clue how to come alongside those that mourn. Instead, their own discomfort with ‘icky,’ complicated feelings prompts them to attempt to rob the mourner of the necessary depth and time of their pain and unhappiness in order to, at a point in future, be fully finished with and healed of their grieving.

    I cannot count the times during my own grief process I heard, “What has happened to your joy?” And, “Don’t you think it’s time to move on from this?”

    Comments like that did nothing to give me hope in my recovering process, and only fueled more self-doubt. And such lack of willingness to allow me my grief in their presence merely served to move me away from them into further isolation. Such lack of loving kindness was a secondary mourning added to an already devastating grief.

    God meets us right where we are; with great patience and sincere loving kindness to bring us from the shadowed mourning into His Light of Hope. I am ever grateful for His faithfulness in bringing me beyond the mourning.

  2. Thank you for sharing this.

    I have come to despise a song many of us sang as children, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…” I wasn’t happy; I was miserable, having been emotionally abandoned by my divorced mother from a young age. That song told me to ignore my reality, put on a plastic smile and pretend that life was good. So I did. I felt invisible and wrong for feeling alone and unworthy of love for many, many years.

    We need to give a voice to people in pain, not brainwash them to believe they’re not.

  3. You’re always verbalizing what I’ve been thinking. I have found this to be true too. The days are getting more evil. How can we ignore and pretend it is not.

  4. This reminds me of the Book of Ruth — Naomi in the story of Ruth: mourning her circumstance (he husband dragged her to a godless land in search of economic prosperity and avoid a temporary famine, but then died and left Naomi there penniless in the godless land) she tells people to call her “bitter.” She was honest about her feelings, her circumstance and hardship, but her despite her dire situation she did not abandon her faith or pretend to be joyful in the midst of misery. David expresses the same raw honesty throughout the Psalms. Of course Ruth chose Naomi’s God as her God and Naomi’s people as her people – I wonder was it partly because she taken in by Naomi’s raw honesty? Acknowledging the hardship, yet not abandoning the faith.

    I also think a lot of the fake happy we have in American churches today is also a culturally American thing…. Europeans definitely seem think so.

    For my own mental health, I have had to distance myself and stop talking to all those in my life who thoughtlessly heap pithy insensitivities such as: “live and let live” and “you need to move on” and “you should get therapy” for being so emotionally effected by severely toxic abuse to the point of daily PTSD flashbacks. Maybe someday I will be strong enough to re-engage (at arms length) with these kind of people, but I am not there. The invalidation from the toxic positivity is just another form of abuse.

    I have one “Christian(?)” friend who, while was she was wonderfully encouraging and validating of the evil from the abuse I experienced during some of my darkest times, and when I was being so invalidated by others, is, however, on heavy antidepressants/meds because I think she truly believes – at least for herself – that in order for her to be a Christian she must be joyful and jolly at all times, and so does not know how to handle herself or life (even gets suicidal) if she is not jolly, as if her identity and testimony and “witness to the world” is more about being a “jolly Christian.” But, it actually just seems like just a another version of the “prosperity gospels / toxic positivity” logic.

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