Are You Happy? If Not, This Might Be Why…

Our family spent a week in Colorado on vacation a few weeks ago. It was a much needed break and we had a ton of fun together. The 2nd half of our week we spent in Breckenridge. BTW, you can get killer deals on condo rentals in Summit County in the summertime. We had been hiking and knocking around town for about a day when my oldest son said, “It’s weird. Everybody in this town is really cheerful and happy.” My first response was to say, “Yeah, they legalized pot in Colorado last year.” Luckily I refrained and we talked about how you know somebody is happy, and what keeps us from feeling happy. It turned out to be a good conversation. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

What makes us happy? What makes us unhappy.

I ran across an interesting info-graphic from The Huffington Post. They look at where people report to be living the happiest lives, and then show the results on a map of the U.S. It’s pretty interesting. When you look at the happiest cities on the map, they are all pretty big pot-smoking cultures… I’m just saying. Should we be looking at this?

First off, let me say I’m joking. I’ve never smoked pot, it’s true. I’ve never done any illegal drugs. I’m completely square and always have been. I don’t think it’s a good idea to smoke pot, or smoke anything for that matter. But I do want to point out that in the places where pot is legalized and regularly used, one of the cultural conditions is a less judgmental attitude.

I think judgmentalism is inversely correlated to happiness. I’m conditioned to see this now. When I see happiness, I almost always see people who do not judge each other constantly. Where people are judgmental, they are unhappy.

When my son and I talked about what makes for happiness, that’s what I told him I see. Out of all of the things that Jesus taught us about, I think maybe this one is the most important: do not judge. Judgmentalism leads you down a path that will literally make you miserable. I must confess that I’m a work in progress on this one, but I feel like I’m making strides.

I don’t know if it is possible to be “happy” in this world, I hope it is. But I know this: being judgmental will absolutely make us unhappy.


About Tim Suttle

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Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.