I remember letting out a sigh a few years ago when viewing a picture. A leading voice in the sadly misguided BDS movement was secretly photographed enjoying a meal in a restaurant serving Israeli food. Apparently, his palate privately prevailed over his “public persona.”
I wasn’t glorying in his hypocrisy. Rather, I noted another example of the interior guide of a conscience infected by our fallen human nature and influenced by the broken world around us. As a result, we tend to filter morality through damaged lenses, resulting in such hypocrisy. At the same time something inside us points to a “need to be good.”
Of great interest to me, this “need to be good” drive was recently supported by an unlikely source – a Psychology Today article by a cognitive scientist at Harvard. Numerous studies indicate that in the 21st century people still recognize one cannot be truly happy if not virtuous. As the author put it, “It seems that people straightforwardly understand that part of being happy is being good, and so if you aren’t good, you can’t truly be happy.”
Although people innately sense this connection, our world still sends the message that health and “fleeting happiness” will fill our void. The world tells us the temporal satisfaction found in possessions, experiences, and relationships will satisfy us.
But the human soul seeks something that endures beyond momentary pleasure. The new cell phone is soon outdated. The weekend party leaves us exhausted. No person can be the permanent source of another’s happiness.
The “feel good now” pursuit faces another challenge. It wholly rejects the reality that tragedy, suffering, and trials may be the very catalyst that opens the door to true delight – the “fullness of joy” only Jesus can provide.
Sadly, even within some circles of believers in Messiah, the emphasis on temporal health and circumstantial happiness has been elevated to truly unbiblical levels. Some believe these are signs of spirituality or validation of faith.
As a handicapped person for the last 31 years, I can unequivocally attest that indeed “true happiness” is connected with being good.
The problem is that the standard for “good” in the eyes of God is a level that’s unattainable by human effort. Right standing with our Creator is receivable only by grace through faith.
When I suffered a severe unexpected medical emergency as a young man, I came to a different perception of reality. The medical trauma that nearly ended my life took me to the deepest depths of despair. It also prepared my heart to receive the gift of eternal life and raise me to the highest of heights.
I have thanked God often over the years for wisely and lovingly leaving me as a handicapped individual. I have asked Him to help me continue to rely more on Him and less on myself.
Each time someone asks about my physical handicap, I have an invitation to share how God used a near life-ending medical trauma to prepare me to listen to the message of salvation through faith in Messiah Jesus . . . and He desires their salvation as well.
My “handicap” gives me opportunities to encourage and comfort those with the same comfort I’ve received and experienced from God. And the accompanying difficulties provide an opportunity for me to mature in my faith.
In conclusion: handicaps, weaknesses, and trials are the very tools God uses for eternal value. Physical wholeness and the pursuit of temporary happiness are often simply holograms. They become a true “handicap” when they stop us from receiving the peace, hope and joy for which our souls actually are longing.
Written by Jeff, LIFE staff member
If psychologists and philosophers are able to conclude that to be truly happy one needs to be “good,” doesn’t it seem worthwhile to find out how we can truly be good . . . especially if it is an eternal matter?
We’d love to share with you how this can happen. You can contact us at any time.
 A movement aimed at harming Israel. You can learn more about BDS here.