Doesn’t this cartoon say it all? We all think we have it worse than the person next to us but the person next to us thinks they have it worse. Not only do we compare our situations with those around us but we look at what others have and think if we had what they have life would be better and we would really be happy.
It is all a matter of perspective. How often do we get wrapped in the illusions of what will make us happy? Do you recall the commercial of the guy on the lawn more. It began with Stan introducing himself and his family.He begins to name the things he has purchased that should have brought him happiness. As the commercial runs, you see the nice home, pool, country club membership, and all accessories but then the camera flashes over to Stan and the tables turn. It is pointed out how much debt he has accumulated to be “happy.” Then, you see Stan riding his lawn mower and he says; “somebody help me.” In other words, Stan is not really happy because he is busy buying into what the world has told him he needed to be happy. Thus, Stan is missing the real joys in life because he is busy trying to pay for those illusions he bought into.
We are all guilty of looking at others as having it all. Although, we are told in the Ten Commandments;Thou shall not covet thy neighbor”, we still look across the way and try to keep up. Yet, as we try to keep up, we get more and more stressed and that void we are trying to fill is still there. Just like the guy on the lawn mower, we all eventually are crying; “somebody help me.”
During the Christmas season, retailers put on even more pressure of what will bring that someone happiness. We hear and see ads from; “he went to Jared”, ” every kiss begins with Kay” and this includes the cute Capital One Credit cards where they tell you if you carry them in your wallet you can go anywhere and get anything. Thus, these things will bring happiness. But, we all know that come January the bills come in and again we say “somebody help me.”
Jim and I are of the generation of the cool bands. One of our favorite groups to jam to is Styx. The Grand Illusion is one of our favorite songs. It sums it up well of how we all get caught up in the illusions of what makes us happy. Instead of looking at our neighbor as we look ourselves, we allow the illusions to take over and we miss the real opportunities of getting to know someone, their story and reaching out to them in Christ-like love.
The lyrics in The Grand Illusion go on to say that ” we are all the same.” You ask, “how are we all the same?” We are all the same because we are God’s creation and his children. We all have a void in our lives that is looking for real happiness. The only true way to fill that void and experience real happiness is to take off our rose-colored glasses and put on the glasses of God.
It is through God’s glasses, we step out of the world of illusions and see the real true needs of those around us. When we put on these glasses, we need to be ready to see hurt, anger, loneliness and those longing for being loved for who they truly are. With the glasses of God we step out of the world of illusions into God’s world.
In God’s world, happiness is helping our neighbor, praying for those who are hurt, taking time to be with those who feel alone in the world. It is having Christ in our hearts and sharing Him with others. From my own personal experience, when I stepped out of the world of illusions where things were going to make me happy and put on God’s eyes, I saw that I didn’t need those things. I began to see the daily blessings and it is reaching out to others and encouraging them with the love of Christ that has brought true happiness.
We live in a world where people are searching even more and are becoming even more lost and caught up in illusions of happiness. Isn’t it about time we began to “show them the way?” (another lyric of another Styx s song) Next time the grass looks greener from the perspective you are standing, put on your God glasses to see the real picture. Realize that the only place where the grass is greener is when we enter the gates of paradise that Christ opened up for us on the day he was crucified. I imagine that grass is going to be the brightest and most beautiful green we could ever imagine.
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “‘How hard is it for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:22-24
The video below is a wonderful illustration of what happens when we look through God’s glasses.
Thoughts To Remember As We... @ Have A Dream
The Other Eleven Months by Cyndi Den Otter
The Pattern For Servanthood @ Good Devotionals