I don’t want my friends to be happy.
According to Google, the definition of “happy” is “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.”
On the contrary, I don’t want my Christ-following friends to be content or show pleasure.
Not if that means they’re holding on to what seemingly brings them pleasure only to be content with the life they’re living in sin.
Call me hateful or crazy, but:
I want my friend to experience heartbreak if it means she breaks up with a boy who isn’t leading her closer to Christ.
I want to hurt my friend’s feelings if it means telling him he treated someone wrongly.
I want my friends to give up being “content” living their life watching Gossip Girl on Netflix all day, everyday.
I want to make it awkward if it means explaining to my friend how she’s hurt me so I don’t have to have bitter thoughts towards her every time I think about her. So we can get it out in the open and work on it together.
I want my friends to sacrifice a comfortable, “go-through-the-motions” life when they could be living radically for God in ways that push them past what they’d be willing to do!
THIS is the kind of contentment I want for my friends:
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound, In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4: 10-13
But I have a feeling being locked in a jail for the sake of the Gospel and God’s glory is not most people’s definition of contentment.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11
THIS is the kind of pleasure I want for my friends:
The pleasure that comes from being in the presence of God. The contentment that comes from FULLY trusting Christ to provide for you. It is not wavered by circumstance.
Bear with me for a second.
I had a friend point out to me a passage in Jeremiah 2 that talks about Israel forsaking the Lord.
“Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sewn…What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness and became worthlessness?”
The Lord cherishes us. He sees us as his perfect bride. This passage depicts the heartbreak in God’s voice when we sin and turn away from him: “What did I ever do to you to make you turn away from me and live in sin? Did I not treat you with an everlasting love? Did I not save you from your worthless life? Did I not provide for you?”
This goes to show how heartbroken the Lord is over sin. Should we not be the same way?
In order for my friends to avoid breaking God’s heart and hurting themselves from living in sin, there are going to be rough moments. They are going to have to sacrifice their self-perceived “happiness” in order to be molded by the potter.
What I really want for my sisters and brothers in Christ is to walk with them in their journey of becoming like Jesus. To love them so much, that I’d be willing for them to be mad at me if it meant speaking truth into their lives.
I want to be able to know that I can trust my friends to call me out when I’m in the wrong. It happens a lot. Sometimes I just can’t see it for myself. I need friends who will hold me accountable. I want to be able to do the same for them.
I would not be the same person I am today if I did not have the Godly friends I had in high school and especially now, who reaffirm my identity and who I belong to. And who called out sin in my life.
I’m tired of being scared of being called “judgmental”. Because the kind of rebuking I’m talking about is the kind that builds one another up as warriors for the kingdom. We must be willing to put our pride aside in order to hear the criticisms of others.
I love this quote by @DavinHwang
“Don’t mask your criticisms, judgments, ridicule, and arrogance behind the name of accountability or righteous rebuke. Without making a commitment to walk with that believer through whatever sin you’re pointing out, you have no business being all up in their business. Do you.”
So, back to happiness.
I want my friends to be happy. If happiness means they’re content in every circumstance through trusting the Lord. I want them to find their pleasure not from worldly pleasures but from the pure bliss of being in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I want them to be joyful. So joyful for the life given to them because they know it doesn’t end with physical death. Because they’ll live on no matter how much persecution they go through and be taken from glory to glory and experience what its like to watch The Lord break chains in people’s lives and set people free.
But, I also want my friends to experience difficulties. I want them to cry so hard for the heartbreak we see in this world. I want their hearts to break for what breaks God’s heart. I want them to know what its like to have everything taken away from them if it means they’ll learn to completely depend on the Lord. That’s what shapes us on to be more like Jesus and to truly care for the lost.
So ask yourself: What kind of friendships do you want to have with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you willing to sacrifice being seen as judgmental? Are you willing to lose a friend because they turn their back on you when they don’t agree with you? Are you willing sacrifice their “happiness” to point out their sin to them?
Verses for if your brother sins:
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.16 but if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:15-17
“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” 1 Timothy 5:20
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2