Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” NKJV
I enjoy laughter and because of that have been accused of not being serious or spiritual at least not spiritual enough for some. I personally cannot imagine anyone walking around like they are continually sucking on a sour pickle drawing many to Christ. Likewise, I cannot imagine people being drawn to Christ by someone who is the Court Jester and Class Clown never being serious. There is a balance to be achieved but it would be impossible to diminish the benefit of laughter and joy. There is scientific documentation that valid the benefit of laughter in people who have dire physical maladies and I personally have experienced the healing power of laughter both physically and psychologically.
The contrast presented in this Proverb is incredible. The imagery presented in having a ‘merry heart’ being medicinal and that of having a broken, defeated, sour spirit, producing depletion of bone marrow which is needed for health and life cannot be missed. If this is a choice, then it is no choice and I choose God’s medicine. That’s why I use levity in much of what I say, and look for things to make me smile. I like to have a good ‘belly laugh’ frequently and find that it is refreshing and therapeutic both for me and those around me. Depression and despondency tend to wear away the defenses and if allowed to continue in a group of people it is like leaven and a little leaven leavens the entire lump. In a great sense, laughter and brokenness are both contagious or can be.
In Psalm 45:7 we read, of Jesus, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you will the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” That is repeated in Hebrews 1:9. We read in Isaiah 61:3, “To grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they might be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” In Acts 13:52 we find, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
God has not purposed us to live in defeat, depression, dejection, and brokenness of spirit. He has appointed us to Fullness of Joy and Abundance of Life in Christ Jesus. Jesus was so anointed with gladness that the Bible says of Him in Hebrews 12 that when He looked at the Cross he saw it as JOY set before Him. JOY? How could that be as we look back on those horrific times and the incredible suffering and abuse He endured. JOY? The Joy was in what He knew it would mean to mankind and He rejoiced in what He knew. That is why I believe that Christians can laugh in the face of difficulty and allow the Joy of the Lord and a Merry Heart that is like medicine to rise within us. WE KNOW WHAT IS AHEAD, at least in Jesus and through His Promises. Thus, we can laugh in the face of adversity and laugh in the face of the devil because of WHO Jesus is and WHOSE we are.
I have read some scientific medical research that suggests that laughter is good for your health. It relaxes the entire body and boosts the immune system as it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies thereby improving our resistance to disease. Laughter triggers endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals which promote an overall sense of well-being and relieves pain. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow which helps protect against heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Laughter, I am told, burns calories so it is helpful in weight control. No, I didn’t say you could laugh your weight to your ideal weight without diet and exercise but it is beneficial. Laughter relieves stress, diffuses anger, and will likely help you live longer. It has been suggested there is a correlation between laughter and good mental health and can strengthen relationships. Laugh at yourself, not ridicule yourself but laugh at yourself. Learn to see the humor in situations rather than allow them to become weights too heavy to bear. Remember funny things that happen and share them and NEVER go a day without laughing even if you have to manufacture a laugh.
I would suggest you do some research and discover the benefits of laughter. No, I am not suggesting that you abandon reason and responsibility and become a clown but I am suggesting that you LIGHTEN UP and allow stress to roll off you as you laugh your way to victory. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen tense situations relax with the use of laughter. It was like medicine and the results were amazing. I cannot imagine Jesus not laughing at some situations.
Let, Dr. Roy, give you a prescription for better health and well-being. “Laugh three times a day.” Find something humorous about your situation and have a good belly laugh. Try that for a week and see if it does not afford you much unexpected and appreciated benefit. Remember a Merry Heart Does Good Like Medicine.
God, bless you as you enjoy this day. Love, Life, Laugh, life is too short to miss the fun of it.