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A Cheerful Heart

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

The verbal picture was hilarious and brought knee-slapping laughter from everyone around the barbecue circle. Even Mark was laughing, although the joke was totally on him. One of his friends had chosen this occasion to describe one of Mark’s most embarrassing moments, a bumbling memory of foolishness that deserved to be packed in the closet rather than aired around the neighborhood. But it was funny!

Mark laughed along with the others, a smiley face carefully masking his pain. What else was there to do?

Later, in the quiet of his room, Mark wept the tears of a crushed spirit, deep sobs that accompanied cries of “I’m no good! Everyone makes fun of me!”

A cheerful heart is good medicine—better than Tylenol or Advil, and almost in competition with Novocaine. However, there is a deep difference between a cheerful spirit and bad laughter—where laughs come at the expense of others.

A cheerful spirit builds up the self-esteem of others. Bad laughter makes fun and takes advantage of the faults and failures of others.

A cheerful spirit brings joy and peace wherever it goes. Bad laughter makes people turn away in fear of being put down. Again.

A cheerful spirit comes with a smile or at least a pleasant face. Bad laughter comes with a smirk and an exultant smile of victory.

A cheerful spirit is the energy behind great friendships. Bad laughter is the death of meaningful relationships.

A cheerful spirit looks out for others. Bad laughter looks out for itself—and feels best when laughing at others.

A cheerful spirit heals the cracks in a heart. Bad laughter enlarges the cracks and fills them with scorn.

A cheerful spirit is a prelude to heaven.

A cheerful spirit is God’s gift to healers.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy The Last Laugh | Bible Topics: Cheerfulness 

Dick Duerksen writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Dick Duerksen

Dick Duerksen

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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