The Bible is much bigger and more important than a self-help book. It’s the story of God’s love for mankind, and it contains instructions for how we ought to approach him today. But it does include tidbits of advice for successful living along the way. We’d be wise to make note of them. Here are eight things that Scripture says will make you unhappy:
1. Hold grudges
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
We’ve all encountered varying degrees of injustice in our lifetime. The world is full of it, and it’s dangerous to keep score. Bitter people console themselves with the thought of revenge, and they miss the grace of God. Happy people get wronged the same as unhappy people, but they choose to release score-keeping responsibilities—they don’t hold grudges.
2. Argue until proven right
Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.
Someone wise once said, “You can be right, or you can be happy.” Debate, while often healthy, can quickly devolve into unhelpful conflict. Happy people have mastered the art of graciously ignoring arguments that don’t matter.
3. Have a lot of friends
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Healthy relationships are vital, but they’re also taxing. Someone trying to maintain too many friendships will either be exhausted, or become guilt-ridden about the relationships that have gone neglected. Happy people keep a few close friendships. They’re friendly to everyone, but friends with just a select few.
4. Talk a lot
The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
That nursery rhyme about sticks and stones isn’t true; words have the power to do tremendous harm. James compared them to snake venom. Happy people don’t mind silence—they don’t fill every quiet moment with empty words.
5. Keep up with the Joneses
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
Covetousness and discontent lead to other happiness-robbing thoughts and habits. Happy people don’t covet. They live within their means because they know appearances are not worth keeping up.
6. Make everybody happy
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
It’s not possible to please everyone. Attempting to do so will lead you down a path that is both unfulfilling and unfulfillable. Happy people decided long ago who belongs on the short list of people they need to please, and they keep the peace with everybody else. (Click to tweet)
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