How to Be Utterly Miserable, or, How to Be Joyously ContentBro. Ron Rupé
8/29/2004 6:00 PM
Miserable people have some things in common. Four ways to be miserable are (a.k.a. the profile of misery):
- Be preoccupied with being treated fairly
- Keep score
- Be overly concerned about being vindicated
- Be overly concerned with the actions of others
Typically, one (or more) of these is the reason that people are miserable. These things will cause you to lose your joy. They are four paths to misery. The Holy Spirit wont lead you down these roads.
Were faced with a choice between misery and contentment. Lets look at the four ways to be miserable. There are some phenomena (something extraordinary or remarkable) that we will see with each of them. [Note from the Webmaster: These phenomena have been bolded for ease of identification.]
- Be Preoccupied with being treated fairly
We should be concerned that we treat others fairly. When we reverse this, and worry about whether others are treating US fairly, misery arrives. The Spirit of God causes us to think about others, not about self. The more you try to get yours and make things fair, the more unfair things seem. This path is a continual downward spiral.
1 Corinthians 10:24
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
Seek to see others prosper. If were seeking others prosperity, it removes the concern about whether or not it is fair.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
If we view others as better than ourselves, we will be thankful for them when they get more than we do. We wont be saying, not fair. Not fair is the feeling of Im better than you. Joyous contentment comes when you quit focusing on self and begin sincerely seeking good things for others. The more you seek the prosperity of others, the more you see how richly blessed you are.
- Keep score.
Two kinds of scores are kept: 1) The fairness deficit, and 2) The offense accumulator.
The fairness deficit keeps track of the difference. For example, Person A gets 3 things, but Person B only gets 1. The fairness deficit is 2 things. Person A gets 4 more things, and Person B gets 2 more things. The fairness deficit is now 4 things. This gets to be quite large for miserable people. Its in their imagination. The further behind they think they are, the more miserable they become.
The offense accumulator keeps track of the number and severity of offenses. Carnal people keep score. These people are miserable. The more these people are offended, the more easily offended they become. They begin to think that people are going out of their way to offend them. This path takes the Lords help to leave. This behavior changes your attitude toward people around you. They go from being good people who can do no wrong, to people who can do no right. The people havent changed, your attitude has.
1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (Fairness Deficit)
For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
This describes a different attitude. We have the same care for others as we do for ourselves. This removes envy, competition, and self-promotion. It lets you rejoice every time someone else is blessed.
Colossians 3:12-13 (Offense Accumulator)
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing on another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Theres no way you can keep score and have these attributes. Its hard to keep score if youre truly forbearing and forgiving. The happy people have these attributes.
- Be overly concerned with being vindicated.
Vindicated means, Proven right; cleared of all suspicion; to have your honor restored. Gods people do care about their reputation. It bothers them to be misunderstood, especially if it causes them to appear unholy or worldly. They try to walk carefully so that their testimony is clear. Yet, in spite of their best efforts, they will still sometimes be misunderstood, misrepresented, and evil spoken of. If your happiness hinges on the approval of others, youre in trouble. You will constantly be trying to clear everything up, and it will wear you out. The more you try to be understood, the more misunderstood you feel. Most of the time, misunderstandings are only perceived. You get miserable when you get stuck in this cycle.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
We, as humans, want others to accept us. What we need to be fixated on instead is Gods acceptance. Whether others accept us is irrelevant. Were laboring to be accepted of God.
When a mans ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
If you focus on pleasing God, he will vindicate you. He will work out issues and problems that others have with you.
- Be overly concerned with the actions of others
This isnt a healthy concern. These are concerned about the allowances and/or restrictions of others. It bothers them. This is the wrong kind of concern and brings misery. They judge those who make allowance, and despise those who make restrictions (more than what they allow or restrict). Its a constant cycle of judging and despising. Sometimes they both judge and despise the same person. Its a miserable way to live.
Romans 14:3-4, 13
Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another mans servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brothers way.
God has accepted both of these people. This isnt discussing sin. It is talking about a difference of conscience. Who are we to judge? Who do we think we are? God is the one who judges. God is holding them up. Let God deal with them. Be careful not to cause someone to fall because youre judging or despising.
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Miserable people cause other people to be miserable. Misery loves company. Miserable people are hard to be around. Their misery puts a cloud over your joy. Their attitudes are contagious. These are four roots of bitterness. Once the root takes hold, it spreads.
1 Corinthians 12:31
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Yet show I unto you a more excellent way The more excellent way is the way described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which says:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
This charity only comes from the Spirit of God in us.