Sweet or Sour

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

The masks worn during this recent pandemic have kept us from seeing the expressions of those around us and discerning their mood or response. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but the mouth is the confirmation. 

The book of Proverbs speaks of the merry heart, with one mention of it in Ecclesiastes, making Solomon the only author to mention it. 

Some may say that the general mood of people has decreased with the rise of technology. We have become more isolated, separated, and secluded. We visit places virtually. We talk to others using video chats and miss the human interaction that God meant to be an integral part of our lives.

Most people cannot generate a good spirit on their own. We can be self-satisfied for a while but need others to motivate us and keep us from self-destructive behavior. If we are left to be our own counselors, we will fail. 

Our hearts are at the center of what is revealed on the outside.

Some may be able to hide a bitter spirit, but not for long. Soon, their speech will betray them.

A critical spirit cannot stay silent for long. The pride from which it sprung desires to be fed.

When someone tears down another or becomes critical of those around them, they have given themselves permission to be the authority and give their version of how things should be run or what should be said. 

A merry heart is nowhere to be found among critical or bitter people.

Many have either a pessimistic or optimistic point of view.

The pessimist always sees the negative, and the optimist will see the good in everything.

As God’s children, we should forever be the optimist. 

1 Peter 3:15-16 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

The world has no hope of anything lasting or eternal. They seek satisfaction but find their pleasures fleeting at best. 

Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.”

The child of God who knows nothing of God’s promise, provision, or protection will seek those things in the world. Our communion with the Holy Spirit of God will bring about fruit that reveals itself in time.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

This author believes that the root cause for all the unhappiness, bitterness, violence, and general chaos is attributed to the destruction of the home.

When homes have a mother and a father who love the Lord, love each other, and love their children, everyone involved will prosper more than those who do without. That is not to say there are those single parents who have made the best of their situation and circumstances.

Sin has long been the enemy of the home. It has ruined marriages, corrupted children, and sent young ones into the world wholly unprepared for what they will face.

No matter the situation, show me a home that laughs together, keeps short accounts by forgiving one another quickly, and keeps God as the central focus; they will survive.

We all face adversity no matter our current state.

It is how we face that adversity that will shape our future. Having a merry heart will go a long way in sustaining a good outlook and a sweet spirit.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

We cannot keep or maintain a constant ‘high,’ but keeping it as the goal will do many things, including help us to heal.

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

I have been around those whose outlook has been upbeat. Those who live topside are a constant source of joy and laughter, and we often desire to be around them.

Those whose speech, spirit, and attitude bring heaviness, heartache, and hurt to our lives are those we avoid or spend as little time as possible conversing or interacting with. A critic or a scorner cannot be brought to a higher plane.

It has to be the choice of the one affected to repent of their spirit and allow God to cleanse and fill them with the right spirit.

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”

You are either one or the other. Sweet cannot abide in bitterness.

James 3:10-11 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”

We can all find reasons to justify our bitterness, hurt, and anger. But, it must be a soul that desires sweetness once again, taking steps to restore their spirit.

Only God can heal a wounded spirit. 

Only God can make the bittersweet.

Wherever you find yourself today, come to God for a sweet treat of His presence, His favor, and His love.

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