Deceptive Advertising

Romans 4:6-7
This is what David meant when he spoke of the happiness of the person whom God accepts as
righteous, apart from anything that person does:
“Happy are those whose wrongs are forgiven, whose sins are pardoned!
Happy is the person whose sins the Lord will not keep account of!” (Good News translation)

Deceptive advertising!
If, like me, you have not yet used your phone to download TikTok, the app for the social network of
mini video clips, you may have received the advertisement that the company is currently circulating,
which reads something like this: “Download TikTok! Happiness is so simple.”

Even though I don’t have TikTok, I have other social media apps on my phone and computer, whose
videos regularly take up too much of my time. It’s so easy to click on images of spectacular feats,
attractive people, or cute animals… Anyway, it seems much easier than doing something useful like
working, writing a letter or even reading… Sometimes it’s even easier to click on video clips than
sleep!

Easy, yes, but does that mean I’ll find happiness? I know it does not! (And yes, I’d love to hear that
someone was suing TikTok for false advertising!) In fact, a lot of western society’s creative
production (films, books, music, etc.) reminds us that happiness is complicated, and that as human
beings we seem singularly ill-equipped to find it and keep it. It may be one of our most basic human
experiences that happiness escapes us if we let our guard down. We lose it when we allow ourselves
to become idle or distracted, or if we don’t learn to cultivate and protect the fragile flowers of
happiness when they open in the garden of our existence.

Both the apostle Paul and the psalmist David tell us of a more dependable truth: the roots of
happiness need the soil of divine forgiveness to be able to truly nourish a blossoming flower.

Written by Jonathan and Amanda Hanley – adapted from L’Ère du temps, a “thought for the week” based on current affairs, originally published by SU-France and SU-Switzerland.

Read more in the series here