Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus.  
We went in the wrong direction.
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Happiness

 

For several years I worked on a crisis hotline. I talked with about 4000 people of whom about 10% were attempting suicide at the time. I learned much during that time and made an attempt to put some of what I learned into writing that I thought might be of benefit to others.

Since I encountered so many people that were not only not interested in Christianity but openly hostile to it, I thought I would attempt to write from a secular perspective. I found it difficult. One might consider life as a spectrum with problems at one end and happiness on the other. While I could suggest methods and techniques to solve problems, it would only get someone half way to happiness, sort of getting stuck midway in a realm of boredom.

I came to see that living for self almost traps a person circulating between problems and boredom. Buddhism deals with this problem by suggesting the conquest of desire such that selfishness and its tendency to drag us back into the realm of problems is minimized. I found that getting past boredom requires a transition from selfishness to selflessness. A glimpse of this can be seen in a father who sets aside his own interests to provide for and protect his family or a mother weary from her work tending to her children.

In the Christian realm the distinction between self and selfless is the distinction between the flesh and the Spirit. Christians are called to love and as can be seen involves selflessness;

Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others. Love is kind, gentle, benign, pervading and penetrating the whole nature, mellowing all which would have been harsh and austere; is not envious. Love does not brag, nor does it show itself off, is not ostentatious, does not have an inflated ego, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek after the things which are its own, is not irritated, provoked, exasperated, aroused to anger, does not take into account the evil, does not rejoice at the iniquity but rejoices with the truth, endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, bears up under all things, not losing heart nor courage. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Most people see no advantage in selflessness. This is why most people have few if any children because nothing demands selflessness more than children. The pouring out of self in love seems foolish to most.

There are consumptive sensations such as fun and pleasure that are often used as a substitute for happiness. However, (like narcotics) they have diminishing returns and often lead to chasing increasingly greater sensation and plunging one back into the realm of problems.

If one has experienced difficulties and anxieties in life, finally achieving boredom can seem to be an idyllic respite. However as time passes, discontent sets in. As Christians we need to realize that happiness is not to be found in living for self;

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. - 2 Corinthians 5:15

 

  

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