Chinese Christian Herald Crusades UK


One of the greatest desires all of mankind has is obtain love. After that would probably be happiness, which is often regarded as the counterpart to love, but which can also be found in the form of other things, tangible or intangible. Some people place their source of happiness in money, power, fame, relationships, career, etc. and spend their lives pursuing the success or love. Others look to ideologies to fulfill their hearts and minds, living “good” lives with the thought that their goodness can make them happier people. Some people will say, “I am happy when I get to hang out with my friends and have no homework for this weekend”, while others may say, “What would make me happy is if I get that job I applied for”. Every individual defines happiness in a personal way and there are so many notions of what happiness is.

In “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”, the characters sing that “Happiness is finding a pencil. Pizza with sausage. Telling the time… happiness is anyone and anything at all, that’s loved by you”. Likewise, many people find happiness in the “little” things of life, such as eating pizza with sausage or getting a new car; however, none of these things can bring a happiness that lasts forever. And that is the problem many people have in living happy lives: they look for it in the wrong places.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, suicide rates per 100,000 people in 2005 America was 10.1 while countries like Korea and Hungary had higher ratings of 21.5 and 19.6 per 100,000 respectively. There are, of course, other factors to be considered when looking at statistics, such as cultural preferences for or against suicide or religious views on suicide. Still, there are many people who are not happy, whether or not they express it by taking their lives. When looking at all the trouble in the world:  the sex-trafficking, genocide, child abuse, domestic abuse, torture, wars, famine, natural disasters…it can be hard to see the happiness previously mentioned because even if it is not our lives that are mutilated or lost, the existence of others’ pain and suffering cannot be denied.  Those in more fortunate circumstances can do one of two things: ignore the troubles of others and live their lives to fulfill themselves, or do their best to solve the problems of the world. But really, unhappiness is inescapable for anyone.  Pizza can get cold and loved ones can be lost. Money can be stolen and tsunamis can devastate cities. There is a limit to what humanity can do to create or maintain its happiness because happiness is dependent on circumstance.

What is the difference between happiness and joy? While happiness is more external and temporary, joy is both internal and eternal. Joy does not rely on people or money or safety. Joy is something that expands beyond the boundaries of one’s world, the people they meet, the places they go, the things they see. From a spiritual point of view, joy is rooted in things that do not change, such as the truth, or what people hold to be the truth.  Happiness is correlated with everything that affects an individual, but joy is within oneself.  Joy is often used to describe an overwhelming sense of freeing, uplifting emotion. It is deeper than the feeling of happiness. In fact, the word happy comes from the Old Norse, olden North German language, word hap, which means “lucky”, “chance”, or “fortune”. This is why the word happy is not found in the Bible because it connects whatever it is describing to circumstance, constricting the validity of such emotion. Joy, on the other hand, is not necessarily based on emotion and does not rely on situation to exist.

In everyday language, the word happiness is used more frequently than the word joy is.  A friend said that she could define and understand what happiness was, but that the feeling of joy was a more elusive concept. The way we view words has been cultivated and influenced by history and today the word joy is quite often illustrated with spiritual meaning. In the Bible, God instructs his people to take joy in Him. Many times joy is correlated with hope, because even in trials the believer can be filled with joy. In Psalms 5:11-12, it says, “ But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield”. This verse tells of the protection God provides and the joy that comes from such an aspect of faithfulness. There is a sense of completeness that derives from the attainment of joy, a sense of security amongst all the insecurities. It may be difficult to define or pinpoint, beyond the understanding of happiness, but the existence of joy is something people can acknowledge. We can perceive its existence by some moments in our lives, but what would be even better is if the human heart takes hold of that joy, believing in the promise that the light will shine through the darkness.

It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy!



根據美國人口普查中心统計,2005年,美國的自殺率為10.1/100,000,韓國為21.5/100,000, 匈牙利為19.6/100,000。雖然,我們必須把諸如:各地文化及宗教對自殺的觀點等其他因素,納入考慮範圍之內,然而,我們不得不承認,不管他們是否採取終結生命為表達方式–許多人是不快樂的。放眼世界的種種問題:色情非法交易、大屠殺、虐兒、家暴、酷刑、戰爭、旱災、自然災害等,我們實在很難看到剛剛提及的所謂的快樂。因為,雖然受苦的不是我們,然而,別人所遭遇到苦難,卻是那麼地真實。不管我們這些比較幸運的人選擇視而不見,或是嘗試改變世界,我們必須承認不快樂是在所難免的。義大利餡餅會涼掉、所愛的人會離去、金錢會被盜取、城市會被海嘯沖毁。在製造以及維持快樂這事上,人是非常有限的,因為這些快樂往往都是建立在環境之上!



◎ Rebecca Ger 葛虹, 女, 20 歲