Happiness Is No Barometer of Truth

“The fact that your new doctrine makes you ‘happier than you’ve ever been before,’ doesn’t mean it’s right.”



People have problems. Rather than admit their problems and solve them, people justify, excuse, and cover them. Happiness is one of the ways people cover their problems.

Exuberant happiness covers a multitude of sad truth.

Pastors know things about people. We know the lives, families, and marriages that are falling apart. Sometimes we know it before they do; we can read the writing on the wall while they’re still looking elsewhere for someone to interpret. One warning sign of trouble is when a person gets happy.

I’m not just saying this because I think pessimism is next to godliness. Happiness truly is a warning sign.

Guilt takes many forms. Disturbed consciences act out. Sure, some get crabby, hostile, and violent, which is also not good, but many go the opposite direction.

When people leave church, they don’t simply leave. They go in a way that proves they are spiritually superior for doing so. After departing, they act super happy to show they were right for having left.

Spiritual maturity must be proven, otherwise what’s the point of growing?! Emotions demonstrate maturity more easily than actions.  You should believe my thing. My choice is right. I’ve got it all figured out. Here, I’ll prove it by showing you how happy I am.

Happiness is a brutal master though. You can maintain reality-denying happiness only so long. Reality will bite you and happiness flees.

I’ve heard people come to Calvinism and say, “I’ve never been happier.” I’ve heard people leave Calvinism and say, “I’ve never been happier.” I’ve heard people leave legalism and say, “I’ve never been happier.” I’ve heard people go to legalism and say, “I’ve never been happier.”

Happiness is no barometer of truth.

I’m glad you found something that makes you happy. Great. But are you happy because your conscience is soothed, or because you came to truth? Because truth hurts. Truth is brutal. Yes, truth sets free, but it doesn’t result in non-stop happiness.

Joy abides. Joy exists with sorrow. Happiness and sorrow have little relationship. Truth is not proved with immediate positive emotional responses, but in the long test of time. Let me know 10 years from now how your happy new doctrine worked out.

Generally speaking, people who had trouble in their faith while Calvinists will have troubles while not being Calvinist. Many who struggled under legalism will also struggle not under legalism.

The problem with people’s souls is a problem with their soul, of their very being; it’s typically not a problem with what doctrines they play around with for an hour or two a week.

We are a people who think change is all we need. That there are magic green pastures we can find if we just hop one more fence. People move to new doctrinal camps because there’s a high and a feeling of progress. Perhaps for a bit it even looks like progress is being made. But then sin comes back and you slouch back to your fleshly slop with the pigs. So then what? Well, guess you need a new doctrine, a new church, a new guru, a new favorite author.

On and on people go, seeking solutions from without instead of dealing with the root cause within and being ever so happy through it all.

I do not care if your new doctrine makes you happy. I don’t believe you anyway. What I care about is people being real with Jesus Christ, repenting, and believing the Gospel.


There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful;
and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
–Proverbs 14:12-13

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