When We Harm Others in Our Pursuit of Happiness
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” James 4:1-2a
We’ve all seen it before: a toddler snatches a toy from the hand of her friend in the name of desire; a coworker makes up a rumor about her opponent in order to secure the promotion that seems to hold the key to her happiness; a man or woman decides to leave his/her spouse because he/she has found the person who will make him/her happy.
In all of these cases—which are not uncommon—there are other humans whose happiness has been sacrificed on the altar of another’s. Spouses, children, and friends become collateral damage in our pursuit of happiness—and sickeningly, our culture applauds it.
“You have to do what’s best for you,” truly means, “Who cares about anyone else? Do what makes you feel good.” Leave your husband, abort your baby, lie to get your way. After all, your happiness is what’s most important.
For something so fleeting, we sure do leave a lot of wreckage in our trail to achieve it.
Not one time in the Bible will you find a command to pursue all that makes you happy. You won’t see any approval or praise of those who are self-seeking or a call to step on others to get what you want. In fact, you find the exact opposite (Romans 2:8; Philippians 2:3). We’re called to put the needs and happiness of others above our own.
In the end, all this world has to offer will never provide true happiness. True joy is found in being found in Christ. It’s laying our own pursuit of happiness at His feet and looking to the needs of others in hopes to display His love and character to them. Pursuers of happiness will never be happy. Pursuers of Christ and His kingdom, however, will have everlasting joy.
Father, we gravitate toward selfishness. We need Your help to take our eyes off of ourselves and to be others-focused. Help us to find our joy in You and not in the things of this world. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rather than looking to your own desires, who can you serve today?
Brittany Allen is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and momma to three in Heaven. She exists to bring God glory and prays her writing is an avenue for that. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically and thrives on seeing women open up their hearts to the Savior and to other women around them.