How Merry Is Your Heart?
A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13)
Have you ever seen someone who you knew was struggling? You could hear it in their voice, see it in their posture, but most of all you could see it on their face. They may try to look happy, but the heaviness they are carrying is weighing them down. And when you ask them how they are doing or if they are ok, they simply say “yeah, I’m good.” Or “there’s nothing wrong, I’m just tired”. These are words I’ve said myself as I’m sure we all have. Many times it’s because we don’t want to bother others with our problems or for some, they are ashamed of their situation and don’t want to face it or talk about it. We’ve all been there.
What is a countenance? Simply put, it’s our appearance or the look or expression of our face. Not everyone has a good poker face. We can either see a person’s happiness or sadness, anger or frustration, fear or worry. Our face gives away a lot. Depending on the question or topic, even looking up with our eyes can mean a couple of things. It can either mean the person is thinking of the answer and trying to remember something, or if it’s done with certain questions or done a lot it can mean the person is lying. An aged look in a short amount of time can sometimes mean a lot of stress and worry. So it’s safe to say, our face can reveal a lot. But when you have a sad heart or one that has not healed from past problems, we are now dealing with a sad countenance because of a broken spirit. Sorrow of the heart can affect our spirit.
What is sorrow? Sorrow is distress caused by loss, affliction, disappointment, grief, sadness, or regret.
Moving ahead a couple of more chapters further, you can see what a merry heart is like and what happens to a broken spirit:
A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
First let’s look at the world “merry” and what it means. Merry simply means happy, cheerful, joyous. Like when we say “Merry Christmas”. We are wishing someone a happy and joyous Christmas. So a merry heart is a happy and joyful heart and that is like medicine to our hearts. Do you hear what I’m saying? We take all kinds of medicine for all kinds of things, especially the heart. But the bible is clear that a happy and joyful or “merry” heart does good, like medicine. It affects us physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Now, let’s look at a broken spirit. What does the Word say in these 2 chapters in Proverbs? A sad heart breaks the spirit and dries the bones. We all go through emotions…sadness, anger, fear, worry, etc. but we normally get past it. But when we allow it to settle into us and do nothing to try to lift it or we do not humble ourselves before the Lord to surrender it to Him and ask that He take it from us, we can and will be overcome by it. We will start to see life through our emotions and that is a very dangerous place to be at. We will end up being dry, bitter, angry, sad, and hateful. These are not the fruit of the spirit, but the fruit of the enemy and he will use it once it has settled within us. Remember Romans 12:2 and renewing our minds. This is where we must battle from to keep the negativity from our hearts and destroying us. The enemy wants nothing more than to break your spirit and dry up your bones causing you a spiritual death.
I will give you one more scripture:
All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
According to Matthew Henry Commentary this means that some are in much affliction (which is a state of pain, distress, grief or misery) and of a sorrowful spirit and all their days are evil days, like those of old age, and days of which they say they have no pleasure in them. They eat in darkness (Ecclesiastes 5:17) and never eat with pleasure (Job 21:25).
Ecclesiastes 5:17 states:
17 All his days he also eats in darkness, and he has much sorrow and sickness and anger.
Matthew Henry goes on to say: How many are the afflictions of the afflicted in this world! Such are not to be censured (official reprimand, criticized or reproached in a harsh manner) or despised, but pitied and prayed for, succoured (helped, assisted, relieved) and comforted. It could be us.
When our hearts are heavy, if we do not lift it up to the Lord, we will eat in darkness because we have much sorrow, sickness and anger. Our bones are dried up because we have no life giving water that Jesus gives. We stopped drinking from His well. A heavy heart does not only affect us emotionally and spiritually, it can affect us physically as well, making us sick.
This may be you or you may recognize this in someone you know. Whatever the case, pray for yourself or the other person. Humble yourselves before the Lord and surrender the situation and ask Him to bring you or the other person a merry heart. We know it takes being with the Lord, reading His Word and prayer to get nourished and fed so we are dry no more. But for the other person it may take lifting that person up before the Lord because they are unable to do it for themselves such as in Mark 2:3-5 when a paralyzed man’s friends lifted him up to the roof then lowered him down to Jesus so Jesus could heal him. It was their faith that healed him and Jesus forgave the man of his sins.
There is one more point I want to make with the scripture in Mark 2:3-5 that will help you to understand why it’s important for us to pray for others when they are sick with a sorrowful heart. This man in this scripture was paralyzed and could not bring himself to Jesus. He needed the help of his friends. When a person’s heart is full of sorrow, anger or bitterness, it can make it difficult to move and do what they need to do. Due to the condition of their heart, they can become paralyzed and unable to bring themselves before the Lord to receive His healing. This is why it’s important for loved ones to lift a person up to the Lord in prayer and for others to do the same for us as well.
Do not go another day with a sorrowful heart. Humble yourself before the Lord and lay it all at His feet. He will lift you up and remove the heaviness from you.