16. Happiness

Our shortcomings are the opposites of Jesus' beatitudes. Instead of blessings and happiness, our shortcomings give us unhappiness. An important beatitude is the one about peace makers. Peace is synonymous with contentment and happiness. Anger and resentment, opposites of peace, destroy happiness.

Unhappiness is something we all want to avoid. It is no secret that anger is an unhappy feeling. Unforgiveness and resentment are unhappy feelings. Too often we carry old resentments that keep us unhappy and cause us to make bad decisions.

The problem with that sort of thinking is that you, the victim, continue to be the only person who is hurt. You stay unhappy while the person who hurt you isn't experiencing any of your resentment and anger. You remain an unhappy victim in continuing anger and misery.

Giving up old unhappy feelings is a good reason to forgive. There is an additional reason. You can't be forgiven until you forgive. "and forgive us our debts" links with "as we also have forgiven our debtors." As the old song line goes, "you can't have one without the other."

The dynamic truth here is that forgiving helps us in two ways. It releases us from unhappiness in our emotions, as well as separation from God. When we forgive, we are open to receive God's blessings. Jesus promised, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The problem is that the Bible is full of God's directions. If it were easy to follow God's instructions everyone would be complying. The truth is, it is difficult to even want to forgive. To fulfill this requirement, we need God's help. Fortunately, he gives it. Part of his power package is for him to do his will in us and for us.

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