Proverbs 15:13 “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
We use the salutation; “Merry Christmas” or sing “May your days be merry and bright,” and often that word ‘merry’ is accepted to be an alcohol induced feeling of goodness and well-being.
Knowing that the Bible has different meanings for the same English word, I dug a bit deeper.
The lexicons that we use to determine a word’s origin biblically matter. The root of such a word “merry” has three separate meanings. Two such uses are associated with the use of alcohol, and one is not. Strong’s concordance determines that the Hebrew word used in our text means:
שָׂמֵחַ sâmêach, saw-may’-akh blithe or gleeful:—(be) glad, joyful, (making) merry((-hearted), -ily), rejoice(-ing).
Twenty-three times this Hebrew word appears in the scriptures. Desiring to simplify and make the application, I asked:
“How often do I rejoice, or am glad, or joyful?” or
“Does my face (countenance) betray a cheerfulness or sorrow?”
More specifically, we could ask ourselves whether or not our faces would be the window dressing that would invite the viewer to investigate the Christian life further? Our perspective, attitude, and demeanor will draw someone closer – but to what?
Are we hiding a scorner, a critic, or a complainer? Or is there truly sweet waters to drink and drink deeply? Often, we feel like we always have to be “up” for others, or we think we betray the cause of Christ. When the fact of the matter is, how we handle all aspects of life will draw a person more than portraying unreal expectations.
How we handle loss, grief, and sorrow will help others see our humanity. How we weather the storms that come into our lives can be what draws someone to Christ instead of the constant sweetness.
I have always found humor to be an excellent salve for harsh, critical moments. Sometimes humor brings levity to the situation like nothing else can. But more than the ability to diffuse any case, we must have balance.
The ability to right the ship when it has gone off course, or to turn around when we’ve traveled down the wrong path, is key in the life of the saved child of God who wants to glorify the Father in all things.
Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Some of us need to ask from which cup we have been drinking? Sweet or bitter? That which is good the use of edifying, or that which tears down and destroys?
I have heard some of the sweetest compliments and some of the bitterest tirades and wonder about the source of both.
Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
What goes into our hearts will eventually come out. Purpose to put in that which will allow the joy, rejoicing, and gladness to come out.