Greg and Elizabeth have a regular “Joke Night” with their four school-age children. Each child brings several jokes they’ve read or heard (or made up themselves!) during the week to tell at the dinner table. This tradition has created joyful memories of fun shared around the table. Greg and Elizabeth even noticed the laughter was healthy for their children, lifting their spirits on difficult days.
The benefit of joyful conversation around the dinner table was observed by C. S. Lewis, who wrote, “The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.”
The wisdom of fostering a joyful heart is found in Proverbs 17:22, where we read, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” The proverb offers a “prescription” to stimulate health and healing—allowing joy to fill our hearts, a medicine that costs little and yields great results.
We all need this biblical prescription. When we bring joy into our conversations, it can put a disagreement into perspective. It can help us to experience peace, even after a stressful test at school or a difficult day at work. Laughter among family and friends can create a safe place where we both know and feel that we’re loved.
Do you need to incorporate more laughter into your life as “good medicine” for your spirit? Remember, you have encouragement from Scripture to cultivate a cheerful heart.
How has good humor helped you deal with life’s challenges recently? What does it mean for you to be filled with the joy of the Lord?
One of the challenges in studying the book of Proverbs is understanding the very nature of a proverb. Harper’s Bible Dictionary defines it as “a short, popular saying that communicates a familiar truth or observation in an expressive and easily remembered form. . . . The most common example is the folk saying drawn from human experience and characterized by picturesque, insightful, witty, or even amusing comment on human behavior or experience.” Sometimes we may be tempted to read the proverbs as if they are ironclad promises, but that isn’t what they are. Rather, they’re wise sayings that provide a base of general wisdom for life. Proverbs don’t offer guarantees; they present principles and ideas that can wisely guide us.