Does Jesus Want Everybody HAPPY?
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For those who donâ€™t know, Sunday Schools and Childrenâ€™s Ministries sometimes teach their young people the song Jesus Wants Everybody Happy. The song goes like this:
Jesus wants everybody happy.
Jesus wants everybody glad.
Jesus wants everybody happy, happy, happy,
And he doesnâ€™t want anybody sad.
The devil wants everybody grumpy.
The devil wants everybody sad.
The devil wants everybody grumpy, grumpy, grumpy,
And he doesnâ€™t want anybody glad.
Letâ€™s make Jesus happy,
And letâ€™s make Jesus glad.
Letâ€™s make Jesus happy, happy, happy,
And make the devil mad.
With hopes that the song did not wow you with its depth and clarity of thought, or with its reverent view of Jesus, we have a few thoughts that may help enlighten the users of said song.
Those who sing this song in their respective childrenâ€™s ministries often choose the song to encourage cheerfulness in the class. Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and it isnâ€™t one of the workers. We donâ€™t want grumpy kids; after all, the teacher is grumpy enough already. We want happy kids. And what could be wrong with that, right? I mean, cheerfulness is good. We like happy people, donâ€™t we? Letâ€™s all put on our smiley buttons right now. Class! Sing with me! Everybody!
But wait just a second! Whatâ€™s that I see on the back row? Is that Johnnyâ€™s hand I see up in the air? â€œWhat is it, Johnny?â€ â€œJohnny, do you have a question?â€
We all wait patiently while Johnny stands to his feet, grinning shyly. â€œTeacher, does Jesus really want everybody happy? Does the devil really want everybody sad?â€
Gulp. Hadnâ€™t thought of that. Now that you mention it, I guess I donâ€™t know for sure, Johnny. Letâ€™s think about that here for a second before we start singing.
Iâ€™m struggling to believe that Jesus wants everybody happy. Call me skeptical. Maybe Iâ€™m bored. Maybe I have nothing better to do than find another song to mock. But Iâ€™m thinking that this is a stretch — or better yet a stretcher case. Does Jesus want everybody happy? Everybody? Does Jesus want people happy in their sin? Does he want them happy while rebelling against Him? Does he want people happy while they stubbornly refuse to repent? Because if so, what do we think we are doing, preaching against sin and all? Shouldnâ€™t we instead be trying to make them feel comfortable? I mean, nothing puts a sinner in a bad mood faster than a prophet pointing his bony finger and saying, â€œThou art the man.â€
Funny thing, this. If Jesus wants everybody happy, then why does he often send them sadness? Should I remember this song at the funeral of a dear friend? Maybe we should all sing it. Solemnly, of course. â€œAs the pallbearers carry the coffin out the back door, the congregation will rise and sing Jesus wants everybody happy.â€
I wonder: if Jesus wants everybody happy, then how should I feel about sin? Does Jesus want me happy about it? Does he want me smiling? Non-judgmental (piety dripping from the ends of my mustache)? I mean, if Jesus wants everybody happy, then I need to be happy. All the time happy. Happy, happy, happy. Clap, clap, clap. Grin, grin, grin. Big cheesy grin with kool-aid edges.
What about the devil? Does he really want everybody grumpy? Then why do they advertise Bud Light with smiley people? Doesnâ€™t the devil want sinners to be happy in their sin? Doesnâ€™t he want them happy with themselves? Doesnâ€™t he want them happy missing church? Doesnâ€™t he offer them pleasures?
The truth is, Jesus doesnâ€™t want everybody happy all the time. There are times when it is important â€“ even vital that we groan for our sin. God does not want men comfortable sitting at church in willful sin. God does not want us happy with sin. God himself is not always happy.
Contrarily, the devil does not want everybody grumpy all the time. The devil, I believe, is most comfortable when men are most indifferent and unemotional. It seems to me that he strives to dull our senses, to lure us into a state of apathy and lukewarmness. To borrow from oleâ€™ Screwtape,
Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one â€“ the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signpostsâ€¦
Now, it is undeniable that there is a sense in which Jesus wants everybody happy, and the devil wants everybody sad, although the terminology certainly is suspect. But ultimately, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Manâ€™s chief end, as the catechism says, is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. We are commanded to rejoice in the Lord alway. So, we can say that this song is true ultimately. Ultimately, the devil wants everybody sad.
But is that what we meant by the song? I mean that, really. If weâ€™re going to sing CCM, we at least oughta get a drum or two.