It sounds obvious doesn't it. Of course someone who suffers a crime is far less likely to be happy than the person who committed it. The victim has had to experience the pain. Physically. Emotionally. They have had to experience the loss. Financially. Relationally. Personally.
But I'm not talking about the happiness of a hard heart that thinks that crime pays. I'm talking about the happiness of admitting to God that you are primarily a criminal and not a victim in His world.
We live in a culture that assumes that we are victims of our circumstances. Our DNA. Our education. Our upbringing. Our diet. We are wired to think that most of the things that go wrong are someone else's fault.
Whereas the Bible says that, though we might have experienced difficulties in life that others have escaped, we are still responsible for our actions. We are not victims. We are criminals. We never have an excuse for sin.
The odd thing is that admitting that your a criminal brings peace and happiness. Because it's in admitting your a criminal that you find forgiveness through Jesus death and experience the love of God in your heart by His Spirit.
The problem with a lot of Christians is that, though they admit they are criminals, they find it very hard to confess to their crimes. We say that we are sinners who need Jesus to die for us and then spend a lot of time trying to prove that we were right and it wasn't our fault!
And self-righteousness makes you miserable.
It makes you quick to judge others. Because you're slow to judge yourself.
It makes you slow to forgive. Because you're not rejoicing in being forgiven.
It makes you bitter. Because you rehearse the way you have been wronged over and over again in your mind. You feel the pain of the real or perceived injustice again and again.
It makes it hard for you to feel loved. Because for someone to love you they have to not let you down in anyway.
As someone who in the past harboured bitterness for many years towards someone whom I should have forgiven, and was miserable because of it...
can I plead with you?
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)