Do We Deserve to be Happy?


Kevin and I were discussing if  ‘we deserve to be happy’. (click on his name to see his post about it)

We are in a bit of a disagreement but I think its just  a matter of semantics. Then again, maybe not.

Here is what I found:

Sidenote: this is so cool, had to give you a link to the Online Etymology Dictionary , its a guide to what words used to mean or originally meant.

Lets dissect the word deserve first, it means:


verb (used with object) 1. to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation: to deserve exile; to deserve charity; a theory that deserves consideration.
-verb (used without object) 2. to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense, etc.: to reward him as he deserves; an idea deserving of study.

and the etymology dictionary states it as:

1292, from O.Fr. deservir, from L. deservire “serve well,” from de- “completely” + servire “to serve.” From “be entitled to because of good service” (s sense found in L.L.), meaning generalized c.1300 to “be worthy of.”

Happy means:

adjective, -pi·er, -pi·est. 1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person.
2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.
3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky: a happy, fruitful land.
4. apt or felicitous, as actions, utterances, or ideas.
5. obsessed by or quick to use the item indicated (usually used in combination): a trigger-happy gangster. Everybody is gadget-happy these days.

-Synonyms 1. joyous, joyful, blithe, cheerful, merry, contented, gay, blissful, satisfied. 3. favorable, propitious; successful, prosperous. See fortunate. 4. appropriate, fitting, opportune, pertinent.
-Antonyms 1. sad.

and from the etymology dictionary:

1340, “lucky,” from hap “chance, fortune” (see haphazard), sense of “very glad” first recorded c.1390. Ousted O.E. eadig (from ead “wealth, riches”) and gesælig, which has become silly. O.E. bliðe “happy” survives as blithe. From Gk. to Ir., a great majority of the European words for “happy” at first meant “lucky.” An exception is Welsh, where the word used first meant “wise.” Used in World War II and after as a suffix (e.g. bomb-happy, flak-happy) expressing “dazed or frazzled from stress.” Happiness is first recorded 1530. Happy hour “early evening period of discount drinks and free hors-d’oeuvres at a bar” is first recorded 1961. Happy-go-lucky is from 1672. Happy as a clam (1636) was originally happy as a clam in the mud at high tide, when it can’t be dug up and eaten.

Happy in the bible is translated as blessed, joyful, joyous, happy, to be glad, to be well placed, mirth, gladness.

I spotted several articles on the web about deserving happiness, Simple Tips to Achieve It ( I agree with points 1, 4, 7, 8 )

Breathing for Meditation, excerpt: it is important to reflect on what true happiness is and where it can be found.

From this blog:You know when you are aligned with source and purpose when you feel joy in what you are thinking and doing! ”  (I guess my source would be God)

30 Happiness Tips: #16, realize you deserve happiness.

From The key to happiness is, you don’t deserve to be happy, you decide to be happy. and To be happy, choose happiness. To be peaceful, choose peace. To be free, choose freedom. Deserving is guilt in another guise, and therefore is useless. So, wipe the word “deserve” from your vocabulary. And teach no one that they deserve happiness or anything else. And when you are happy, think not, “What did I do to deserve this?” Pray, rather, “Dear God, thank you!” Gratitude enables receiving – effortless receiving. Gratitude is an affirmation – it attracts what it focuses on. Gratitude is enough.

From Applying the Secret: the About page.

From Wikipedia.this caught my eye from the religious and spiritual views section:

As an example, according to Augustine‘s Confessions, he lived much of his life without God. He sinned much and recognized his sinfulness. As a youth, he sinned for its own sake, and later, in the pursuit of a perceived good. When he lost a dear friend to death, it troubled him a lot, and he turned to God for answers. He turned to God to find true happiness and was converted to Christianity. He found that true happiness can only come from a relationship with God and appreciating God’s creation for His sake, and not its own.

Ok a bunch of worldly or secular examples, now on to the Word of God.

Just looking at scripture references to the word happy and happiness leads me to believe that people that were happy in the bible were pleasing God, were doing right, were walking in the way of the Lord

Happiness of the Saints in this life

and happiness of the wicked is here.

So what can we conclude from all this?

Do we deserve to be happy?

Do we merit, qualify for, or have claim to, or even worthy of happiness?

I guess we would have to decide what our ‘happiness’ is, huh? Something indicative of pleasure, joy, contentment.

Is God your happiness? Is serving/obeying/glorifying God your joy, contentment, pleasure?

If my happiness is laying on the couch, eating, drinking and being lazy, do I have a clam to that? Am i worthy of that?

If my happiness is making others happy, do i merit that, or qualify for that kind of happiness?

Kevin said God wants us to be happy.

I say God wants us to obey/worship/love and honor Him.

We should be happy doing just that.

Your heart is what your eyes focus on. Focus your loving gaze on your Faithful Creator.

Thoughts? Blessings, Kristina 

De 24:5 – [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Hebrew] “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken.  Ec 9:7 – [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Hebrew] Go {then,} eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.  Isa 52:7 – [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Hebrew] How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, {And} says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  La 3:17 – [In Context|Read Chapter|Original Hebrew]My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.  

6 responses »

  1. Interesting. There are many thoughts on what is happiness. I believe that happiness is a state of being and means something different to each person on the surface and that at a deeper level happiness is the same for all of us.

    You provided many thoughts of other people. What are your personal thoughts on happiness?

    BTW – thanks for linking to my blog.
    ~~thanks for the comment, i really have to think on this more, the question being do we deserve happiness, not really what is our own personal meaning of happiness, but we have to take into consideration what our happiness is, then decide if we deserve it? i think i will wait to answer that after some more people comment 🙂

  2. Psalm 30:11
    “You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.”

    I think that “deserve” is the word of disagreement or semantics between you and Kevin. Plus, look at the difference between happiness and joy. I believe that we can live a joyfull life while not always being “happy”. Those are two different things really.

    ~~Psalm 30:11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
    12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

    You are right, my friend. I have done word studies on joy and happy.
    Look who clothes you in happiness/gladness. GOD!

    Also, joy is vertical, happiness is horizonal? Meaning when we look up or have a relationship with God its joyful, with people on earth = happy. maybe, just a thought.
    So what do you think? do we deserve happiness? xoxo

  3. I think you and I were having a discussion on blessings a few weeks ago and I later heard a great definition of the word. To be blessed means that you have inner peace. Now whether or not that leads to happiness is another thing. If I’m a martyr sitting in jail about to be executed for my faith, then I’m definitely not happy but may have inner peace.

    I don’t think God gives a rip about me being happy. His only concern is for me to follow a path to his kingdom. A good parent isn’t concerned about their kids happiness, but about their character.

  4. @Kristina,

    Thanks for taking the time to put together a thoughtful reply.

    I never claimed, in fact I specifically denied, we deserved happiness based on our actions, I claimed we deserved to be happy based on our position (“situation” in your definition above.)

    If I am hearing you correctly, God desires those who worship and honor him to be happy, but everyone else he desires (ought) to be unhappy whether they are otherwise happy or not.

    Also I believe if one reads your response carefully, you seem to have trouble believing we can engage in activities that you see as “lazy” and find happiness in those things. Yet we even have Biblical commands that to be “lazy” and relax is God’s will for us.

    What would happen if Christians would just relax, enjoy themselves in their work and home and just let God do the worrying about all the things we generally pursue trying to make Him happy? Would God then stop being God? or would He still be God and we be more happy?


    “I don’t think God gives a rip about me being happy. His only concern is for me to follow a path to his kingdom. A good parent isn’t concerned about their kids happiness, but about their character.”

    What an incredibly dysfunctional parent you must be. Any parent who loves their children is concerned with they happiness as well as their character.

  5. As dysfunctional as this guy I hope…

    To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities–no more than the beggar maid could wish that King Cophetua should be content with her rags and dirt, or a dog, once having learned to love man, could wish that man were such as to tolerate in his house the snapping, verminous, polluting creature of the wild pack. What we would here and now call our “happiness” is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.

    CS Lewis

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