Joy Killers

Published on Dec 2nd, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Joy Killers

Joy Killers

It is a funny process getting older.  Some folks seem to try and fight it as much as they can while others seem to embrace it a little too easily.  I find that some of the struggles that I faced when I was younger are no longer a problem while others seem to have snuck their way back into my life.  As I hang around more and more AARP age people, my peers now, I do find two things that seem to be tripping them up.  These two things are robbing folks of their joy.  If the trend continues I am afraid that we will have a few too many cranky old men and women on our hands.

These joy killers are expectations and opinions.  Now, these can kill joy and divide relationships in people of all ages, but middle aged folks and senior citizens are often plagued with these stumbling blocks.  What I am finding amazing is how many people actually believe that as you get older you are “allowed” these joy killers in your life.  We are allowed to expect so much from young people that they will never measure up and therefore we can stand in judgment of them.  Ecclesiastes warns of this type of thinking. Solomon says in Ecc 7:10, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?  For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.’ ”  We think that our years of life experience allows us to compare our younger days with the young people of today.  We never stop to think that we are not remembering correctly or that we are sugar coating our past.  Our expectations of how we want others to act is always based on a misjudgment on how we believe we act.  Jeremiah reminds us that our heart is wicked and that only God can truly know our hearts.  So, our expectations of others is often based on a misjudgment of our own actions and heart attitudes.

Expectations that kill joy are not reserved for people only.  We have expectations of our government, our church, our friends, our spouses, our families, and our God.  As the years pile on and the unfulfilled expectations begin to pile up it is easy to become cynical and begin to expect the worst in all things.  This produces cranky old people.  The problem is that so many of these dire predictions come true.  We expect too highly, our expectations are set with us as the center of the universe, and we forget that everything is about the glory of God…not our happiness.  Does that sound a little harsh?  Think about your disappointments.  How many of them are disappointments in the lack of glory given to God and how many are disappointments in what you wanted?  You were overlooked for that job.  Your needs were not met at church.  Your spouse does not understand you.  Your children did not perform up to your ideas.  Expectations are a killer.

If expectations are a killer of our joy then opinions are often the joy killer of others.  Have you ever stopped and listened to yourself?  How many times a day do you express an opinion about things that really do not matter in light of eternity?  How often do you find yourself critical about what someone has done or said?  Did you ever stop to think that your opinion about how that person was accomplishing that task is not better but just different? I am amazed at how often people my age express their opinion about things.  We are so quick to question, evaluate, criticize, opine about almost anything and everything.  This is one of the ways that dads often provoke their children to wrath.  We not only want our children to “do” but they must “do” our way.  “This is pretty good but it needs more salt”. Really?  Did that really need to be said?  And then we justify it as if our opinion is simply the absolute truth.  As if we are the world’s leading expert on the amount of salt we should put in food.  We opine about people driving, about moms with their children, about how to do a construction project, about the songs on any given Sunday, about how to do…well, anything.  I am trying to figure out why this happens.  I wonder if it is due to our great wealth of experience we have gained over time and now want to share it with others or if it is due to the fact that our days are numbered and we want those remaining days to be molded in our image?  Either way, we may need to realize that the constant sharing of our opinions can be a real joy kill in others.

We will never be able to eliminate our expectations and opinions.  We need both.  In the hands of an almighty God they can be tools for great good.  But maybe today we can simply stop for a short time and evaluate how our expectations are killing our joy and how our shared opinions are often killing the joy of others.  Both problems separate us from people and kill relationships.  Maybe that is just my opinion!


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