No reason to smile
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (v.22)
A surprising thing takes place in those whose temper is tempered by the Holy Spirit -- bad temper is replaced by a growing sense of humor. God has given us the power of humor, not only to laugh at things, but to laugh off things. I am not suggesting that we ought to use laughter to deny realities, but humor often reduces things to their proper size.
I once heard a preacher say: "There is no good in a movement or a person where there is no good humor, for goodness has laughter as a corollary." There is something basically wrong with a person who, at appropriate times, cannot break out into hearty laughter. I heard recently of a member of the Irish Republican Army who was wonderfully converted. He spent the first month after his conversion in the home of a minister who said of him: "It was two weeks before I saw him smile, and when I spoke to him about this, he said: 'I have been in a grim business, plotting against people -- and the way I was living, there was just no reason to smile.' " How tragic -- "just no reason to smile." Depend on it, where you cannot smile, you cannot live -- you just exist.
Over the years, I have watched many groups come to the CWR Institutes in Christian Counselling. Many are tied up with fears, guilts and apprehension. We invite them to share their fears and get them up and out. They do. Then the laughter begins. They grow progressively happier as the week goes on. By the end of the week, they are ready to laugh at anything -- themselves included.
Lord Jesus, it is said of You that You were anointed "with the oil of gladness more than your companions." Let that same anointing rest and remain upon me today -- and every day. For Your own dear Name's sake. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What does a happy heart enjoy?
2. How is this expressed?