Today we are wrapping up our series in Proverbs. Last week, we talked about pride, something we all need to hear. This week’s topic is much needed too – laughter. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” People who do not know how to laugh are often bitter, critical, and hard to deal with. Jesus wants us to be full of joy!
Proverbs 17:22, and the other verses we will look at, are not just pieces of good advice or good old sayings. They are the Word of God! Psalm 2:4 tells us that God laughs. He has a merry heart. Psalm 126:2 says, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” We have reason to be merry. Think of all the great things God has done. Jesus died for our sins. Our names are written in heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us and He is coming again to receive us unto Himself! Whether you have a husband or not, a wife or not, a car or not, a house or not, a job or not, a degree or not, money in the bank or not, you still have something to shout about if you know Jesus!
Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” The devil hates laughing at home, in your marriage, and in church. Gloomy, depressed people are weak and more apt to be sick. God gave us the gift, the ability to laugh. We can’t always rejoice over our circumstances but we can rejoice in them. Have you lost your joy? David prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12).
“A merry heart does good…” (Prov. 17:22). Medicine cost has skyrocketed. You can’t afford to be sick. One man said, “I just got a prescription. The instructions read: Take one every time you can afford it.” I read one time where a child laughs 400 times a day on average, while an adult laughs only 15 times each day. Other writings on the topic have cited 300 or 200 times a day, but the point is that children laugh way more than adults do. Maybe it is stress or responsibility, but laughter is a stress reliever! It restores and rejuvenates. All work and no play isn’t holy or healthy. Just google the medical benefits of laughter! In John 16:33 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Keep your marriage fun. Keep your home fun. Keep your work place fun. Whistle while you work and you will live longer!
Proverbs 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?” Happy patients recover quicker. People who laugh longer live longer. In our theme verse, we read, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” The picture here is of a person who is so loaded down by the pressure and pain of life, they are crushed by the weight. A crushed spirit is a heart that is weighed down with worry, sorrow, guilt, or discouragement. This, Scripture tells us, is unhealthy. Stop carrying the guilt and all of the baggage of past. All of us have done things we’re ashamed of, things we wish we had done differently, or not done at all. The fact is, you cannot change the past but you can learn from it. God does not want you crushed by the weight of past sins, mistakes, or failures. Don’t carry around the weight of worry. Give your worries and your past to Jesus. Ask Him to trade your sorrow for joy. He will! C. S. Lewis said, “It is not so much the joy of the Lord we are seeking as the Lord of joy Himself.” In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy! (Ps. 16:11)