Why do people at church fake being happy?

I’ve told you the guys in my workshop ask great questions. They don’t know there’s some stuff you’re not supposed to mention.

“So what makes you think they’re faking?”

“Nobody’s that happy all the time. It’s like there’s a rule against being sad or upset. All the songs are about joy and peace, and sometimes that’s not how I feel. But I think they’d kick me out if I wasn’t smiling—I mean, not really, but nobody’s showing their real feelings.

“I go to Celebrate Recovery on Thursdays and it’s totally different. People there are real. But on Sundays, you gotta be happy. And I don’t think they’re always that happy. I know I’m not.”

I completely agree with my friend. There are many days I don’t feel the joy of the corporate worship experience, when all those smiling faces make me feel isolated and alone.

I’m glad I know better. I’m glad I know worship is more than music and more than feelings. I’m glad I know a lot of those smiles aren’t real and church has a lot of hurting, confused, lost people.

That’s why we fake being happy—because we’re just like everyone else, and we’re afraid, and we don’t want others to know we’re afraid. So we hide behind our happy masks.

So that was my answer, and my friend said, “But doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose? Isn’t the whole point of a community to have a place where you can be honest and let down your guard?”

“Sure. The whole idea of a life of worship is to love God, others, and yourself—openly and transparently.

“But nobody said it would be easy.”

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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