Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
If we are simply creatures who have evolved from less complex forms of life originating in a warm slime pit somewhere, sometime in the distant past, then why do we find ourselves so discontent and often so unhappy in our present existence? You’d think we wouldn’t even be able to notice or recognize our own discontentment, wouldn’t you? We should just be here, existing, doing what creatures of our kind have evolved to do without thinking about it, shouldn’t we? Yes, we should—unless there’s something else going on with us.
The fact that we are aware of our own discontentment at times points to the great probability that it’s possible for us to be content. Perhaps we were designed for something more than just existing and doing what our kind do. What I’d like to suggest is this: if we are able to be aware of our unhappiness, then we should also be able to recognize the source or reason for our unhappiness. Here are the two sources for discontentment or unhappiness that I’ve come up with: (1) I’m living with the consequences of my own actions, or (2) I’m a victim of someone else’s negative actions, such as abuse, neglect, etc. In other words, the good life that might be possible for me to enjoy, the life I suspect is not only probable, but perhaps what I was designed for in the first place, is being taken from me, either by my own poor decisions or those of someone else close to me.
Jesus had an angle on this. In John 10:12, in the context of a parable where Jesus is the Good Shepherd of his sheep, his people, and Satan or false teachers are the thieves who steal and harm the sheep, he said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life, life to the full.” Jesus believed that a full, complete, purposeful, meaningful life was not only possible, it was the kind of life he came to give to his people. If the source of our unhappiness are either our own poor choices or those of someone else, then perhaps the way the enemy or thief steals from us, kills us and destroys us is by enticing us to behave in these destructive ways. The Bible word for this would be sin—missing the mark, falling short of the goal or ideal for our behavior. If this is true, then it stands to reason that sin is the thing that keeps us from the full life Jesus intends for us and came to give back to us.
What to do? Well, for starters, perhaps we need to recognize that usually our own poor choices and bad behavior are the source of our own discontentment and unhappiness. Jesus came to forgive us and restore our lives. Now that’s some good news! If a full life is not just probable, but what he designed us for and came to give us, then perhaps we should hall off and take him up on it. What do you say?
(Disclaimer: Those suffering from painful and debilitating disease or injury are usually not suffering because of their own sin. We live in a fallen world, but one in which a full life is still possible in spite of physical suffering, when we find meaning and purpose from our Creator and his plan to restore us and creation through Christ.)