When the founders of America declared independence from England, they listed “the pursuit of happiness” as one of the reasons. They argued we were given this right by God. They couldn’t guarantee we would always be happy. They did declare we have a right to try. Nice. What a blessing to live in a nation that values human happiness! But it’s a negotiated happiness. We have a constitution and laws that set limits on our happiness because each of us has a dubious power to destroy another person’s happiness.
Our best happiness accrues to us when we make God happy. “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). We will never be happy if we alienate ourselves from God. The pursuit of happiness starts with pleasing him. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I’m making myself miserable because I keep doing the right things”? Doing the right things is an enormous source of personal satisfaction.
So is bringing joy to others. God’s happiness, other people’s happiness, and our own happiness are fraternal triplets. They are related in a way that bonds humanity with the divine. We are free to put an unforced smile on the face of a child, senior citizen, or anyone in between through our acts of kindness. My fellow Americans, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live” (Ecclesiastes 3:12). Pursue all the happiness you can get.