Habits of Happy People
by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com Family Editor
Today I stumbled across a list someone had pulled together and put online, entitled “22 Habits of Happy People.” Inspired, I decided to write a few down on post-it notes and stick them up around my (already post-it laden) cubicle. Then I got to thinking about Scriptural wisdom to back up the catchy phrases. Here’s what I found for the first few.
1. Let go of grudges
This piece of wisdom is undoubtedly biblical. In fact, the ideas of forgiveness and leaving vengeance up to God can be found in many places throughout the Old and New testaments. Levitical Law states,
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18).
Jesus also speaks of the necessity of forgiving each other and letting go of grudges – especially if we desire for God to dismiss our own sins.
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Matt. 11:35).
2. Treat everyone with kindness
This is a beautiful, simple phrase that cuts to the heart of the golden rule. Jesus cautions,
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12).
God, through commands to his early followers and through his revelation in Christ, clearly values acts and attitudes of kindness and compassion. Believers are consistently exhorted to give, respect, honor, and show humility toward those around us. Perhaps the best model for kindness would, of course, be God himself. Instead of allowing humanity to perish in sin, God pursued us throughout centuries, sent his Son to walk among us, and offers salvation and reconciliation to all freely.
3. Regard Your Problems as Challenges
According to Paul,
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Truthfully, life is full of problems. And not all problems can be solved. But I like the idea of regarding problems as challenges, because it’s a wonderful reminder that we have been given the power to do something. God didn’t make us fearful or incapable. He gave us a spirit of power and of sound mind (1 Tim. 1:7). If we looked at our problems more like challenges, perhaps we would be more hopeful about the future.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you been holding grudges? Have you been less than kind to others? Have you let yourself become overwhelmed by your daily problems? Consider developing some “habits of happy people!”