喜樂或是快樂?

By: Jim Mathis

今天我的主題是-喜樂,不是商業廣告中所說「快樂」。我們經常提到快樂或感到快樂,例如在終於簽下一個合約、找到一個新客戶、成功銷售、得到升遷加薪或者是找到新的工作,是我們感到有前景、能實現抱負和有報酬回饋的工作。這些事都讓我們快樂,但是最近你聽到有人在討論經歷「喜樂」嗎?

最近我和一些朋友討論到兩個很接近的字「快樂」和「喜樂」。在討論當中,我們發現他們兩者在很多方面大大不同。例如,很多時候,快樂和現在正在發生的事情有關。我感到快樂因為今天沒有下雨,或者我不快樂因為我的咖啡冷了。但是,喜樂卻和「態度」有關。喜樂是一種生活方式,無論好事壞事,每天我們用什麼態度處理這些事。喜樂也跟每個人的個性、內在的狀況比較有關係,而表現在生活各層面。

在討論中,我們也觀察到喜樂的程度會影響到快樂。例如,如果我們很喜樂,看事情就會看到好的一面,即使是一點有趣的事情也會讓我們感到快樂。或者遇到了問題,我們會把它看成挑戰而非無法解決的困難。沒有喜樂的人,不容易快樂,因為無論他們遇到什麼問題,都覺得遇到了很大的爭戰。

我自認為是一個喜樂的人,即使是看起來一點關係也沒有的事情,也讓我覺得開心。很幸運的,我做的工作都是讓人快樂的工作。無論是演藝人員、照片沖洗人員、咖啡店老闆或是老照片的修復員,大部分的人結束他們一天工作的時候,臉上都有大大的笑容。一杯好的咖啡能給愛咖啡的人露出微笑,但是拿到家族照片的人似乎比他們都開心。

有趣的是,聖經很少提到「快樂」,但卻大篇幅地提到「喜樂」。每天在生活中,在工作上、在家庭裡、在追求興趣上,我們應當用什麼態度看待和處理每一件事:

喜樂應該常與我們同在。 如果有人跟你說,他們一直都很快樂,這句話其實令人懷疑。因為他們也會遇到不快樂的事。但是內在的喜樂,不是依靠外在的情況。所以我們被教導要 :「..常常喜樂」(帖撒羅尼迦前書 5:16)

喜樂,不是由外在的情況來定義。 如果有人告訴你:「無論處於什麼狀況都要快樂。」你同意這句話嗎?但是,聖經是這麼說的: 「我的弟兄們,你們落在百般試煉中,都要以為大喜樂;因為知道你們的信心經過試驗,就生忍耐。但忍耐也當成功,使你們成全、完備,毫無缺欠。」(雅各書1章2-4節)

喜樂是來自對我們對神的信心和依靠。 一生經歷許多患難的使徒保羅告訴我們:喜樂來自對神的信靠。「我們又藉著他,因信得進入現在所站的這恩典中,並且歡歡喜喜盼望上帝的榮耀。不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練,老練生盼望;盼望不至於羞恥,因為所賜給我們的聖靈將上帝的愛澆灌在我們心裏。」(羅馬書5章2-5節).

省思/討論題目
就你的了解,喜樂和快樂有什麼不同?你是否同意即使環境讓你不快樂,你仍然可以有喜樂?分享你的看法。 你知道有人遇到困難或是患難,但是仍然充滿喜樂嗎?請描述這個人,以及你覺得是什麼原因讓他仍然擁有喜樂? 你在職場上,遇到什麼不快樂狀況但仍保有內心的喜樂?請描述你的經驗。 不管外在環境如何充滿壓力和挑戰,你認為如何做才能培養 常常喜樂 ?備註: 如果你手上有聖經想要看看聖經中和這個主題相關的經節,請參考:尼希米記8章10節;以賽亞書51章3節;路加福音2章10節;加拉太書5章22-23節;約翰一書1章3-4節;約翰三書4節

CONFUSING JOY WITH HAPPINESS
By Jim Mathis

My topic for today – joy – is not something we often talk about in the business and professional world. We commonly speak about happiness and being happy, whether it concerns finalizing a contract, attracting a new client, making a sale, receiving a promotion or a pay raise, or finding a new job we feel certain will be more fulfilling and rewarding. Such events make us happy. But when was the last time you heard someone speak about experiencing joy?

Recently some friends and I were talking about these two seemingly similar words, joy and happiness. However, during the course of our discussion we realized that in important ways, they are very different. Happiness, for example, has a lot to do with what is happening at the moment. I can feel happy because it is not raining, or I might become unhappy simply because my coffee got cold. Joy, on the other hand, is more about attitude. Joy is a way of life, how we approach everyday events, both good and bad, while happiness typically is situational. Joy also can be more of a personality trait, an inner quality of well-being that permeates every part of person”s life.

An observation that came from our discussion was how our level of joy can have an effect on what brings us happiness. For example, if we are joyful, we tend to see the good in many things: little pleasures will make us happy, and problems can be viewed as challenges rather than as insurmountable obstacles. People without joy in their lives will have a lot of trouble finding happy moments, and every problem they encounter will be perceived as a major hassle.

I consider myself joyful, which means even seemingly inconsequential things can make me happy. I am fortunate that every business I have been involved in was designed to make people happy. Whether as an entertainer, photo finisher, coffee house owner, or most recently, a restorer of old photos, I have seen most people I have worked with leave with big smiles on their faces. A good cup of coffee can bring a smile to a coffee lover’s face, but not nearly as much as seeing old family pictures brought back to life.

Interestingly, the Bible says little about “happiness,” but it speaks extensively about “joy.” Here are a few things it tells us about how we should approach each day, whether we are at work, in our homes, or pursuing our favorite interests and hobbies:

Joy should be a constant companion. If someone tells you they are always happy, be skeptical. Because everyone faces unpleasant situations in life. But inner joy is a quality that is not dependent on outward circumstances. So we are told to, “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Joy is not defined by circumstances. If someone told you, “Be happy, no matter what happens,” would you agree? And yet the Bible instructs us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

Joy is dictated by our faith and trust in God. Another passage, also written by the apostle Paul, who was no stranger to adversity, declares joy a byproduct of growing faith in God. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…” (Romans 5:2-5).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Based on your understanding, what is the difference between happiness and joy? Do you agree that it is possible to possess joy, even if circumstances are making you unhappy? Why or why not? Can you think of a person you know who seems to exhibit a sense of joy, even when he or she is facing times of hardship or adversity? If so, how would you describe that person – and what do you think makes that individual that way? Describe a situation at work in which you might be able to experience the inner quality of joy, as Mr. Mathis describes it, even if what is occurring at the moment might not be filling you with happiness? What difference would it make, in your view, to be able to cultivate a sense of joy on a consistent, everyday basis, regardless of how stressful or demanding things might get at work?NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 51:3; Luke 2:10; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 John 1:3-4; 3 John 4

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