A merry heart is a good medicine

Not many people know that this is a quotation from the Bible. ‘A merry heart does good like a medicine’ Pro 17:22.

Some Christians are too morose for their own good and for the good of Christianity. Some people think that serious Christians should be morose; rather morose Christians need to learn their Christian behaviour from the Bible.

‘Talking therapies’, known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is now recognized as basic to mental health issues. It was developed by a Christian medical doctor, Dr Chris Williams, initially as the Bible’s teaching for Christians, and which was developed for mental health issues generally.

This process is common – a Christian solution is found, and then the Christian elements are stripped out of it to see if there is a non-Christian general solution. It happened with education, Christian welfare of the sick and the poor, slowly changing into non-Christian medicine and social care. The secular result is jobs instead of ‘vocations’ and non-caring carers.

Stripping out Christian principles has happened also in government theory and with the economy – Jesus spoke more about money in His parables than any other subject.

When the biblical Millennium arrives, government itself will be different. We can already discern changes from the arbitrary and despotic government of former centuries towards the biblical model that will prevail in the Millennium.

Some people allow sorrow to lead to depression, then depression to suicide. Our secular society is a society of death – from abortion to child abuse at one end of life, to elderly abuse and euthanasia at the other end of life. In between, useful lives full of potential are driven to hopeless despair by our ungodly society that has marginalised the Gospel of hope and pushed its preachers into a corner Isa 30:20.

Morose Christians depress not only themselves but their acquaintances also.

Wrong thinking leads to wrong words, to wrong behaviour, which develops wrong habits and a bad character.

The Christian Gospel has always drawn attention to sins of thoughts, words and deeds. The solution is in Jesus Christ, Whose name means ‘Saviour, for He shall save His people from their sins’ Mat 1:21.

Not only has Christ made atonement for sin, and secured the energising power of the Holy Spirit to deal with the power of sin, but He practised what He preached.

In the midst of His own shame and distress on the cross of Calvary, He set His thoughts on His future blessedness in heaven with His redeemed people, ‘Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God’ Heb 12:2.

We are encouraged to ‘seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth’ Col 3:1-2.

There is a huge, practical difference between a merry and a sorrowful heart. Sorrow of heart is depressing, and depending on the circumstances may or may not be justified, however, its depressing outcome needs to be recognised. Even in sorrowful circumstances we are to look to the Lord to sustain us with gladness.

‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ Neh 8:10.

‘Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God’ Ps 43:5.

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