Visiting the sick and discouraged for the sake of encouraging and uplifting is a staple of the Christian walk. And if you bring joy and laughter to those who have little to be happy about, that is a high calling. As a matter of fact, this is the whole point to the popular quote:
“Laughter is the best medicine.”
This quote cannot be found in the Bible, however, the origin of laughter as the best medicine DOES come from the Bible book of Proverbs.
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (New King James Version)
While the idea that bringing laughter and joy to others can have a healing effect has merit, over the years this famous quote has evolved to take on a more secular and superficial meaning. This Bible verse has more to do with a person’s heart, i.e. internal attitudes and beliefs, than with a person’s ability to entertain others. The Amplified version of the Bible puts it this way:
“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)
If our thoughts and attitudes reflect the joy of Christ, and our outlook and personality are positive, we can work healing in many lives (you are what you think). Do you know someone that you like to be around, someone with this type of spirit, that lifts you up just by being together? Can each of us look in the mirror and say “I’m that person”?
Not only does the secular quote “laughter is the best medicine” leave out this understanding, it also leaves out the opposite of the quote which we see in Proverbs. It is the contrast between a happy heart and a broken spirit. Yes, God wants us to come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, humbling ourselves before God, but that is not related to this verse.
In Proverbs 17:22 the idea of a broken spirit is having a heart and mind that dwells on the negative. If we live our lives with our heads hung down, focusing on the negative, being a “downer”, we will have the effect on others of drying up their bones. In other words, rather than being refreshed by your presence, people will walk away parched and discouraged.
Let’s keep the truth of this saying alive in our lives. God has created us that we might have joy, and if we embrace the Gospel we can have that joy. And once we have the Joy of the Lord, we can have a healing effect on those around us. Be a healer today.