A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones – Proverbs 17:22
One of my pet peeves is to begin to share something with someone, particularly if they ask me about a difficult situation and just as I begin, they launch into their own issues, past or present. Instead of being encouraged, I walk away feeling as Proverbs describes, “dry.” So, I’ve made it a point to gravitate to happy people – especially those who can listen.
I like to be around people who enjoy life. Their overall demeanor is happy and encouraging and that is something I need to be around. On the other hand, being around someone who engages in endless complaining, tirelessly sharing their hurts, injustices and hardships is draining.
I realize we all need to unload sometimes and yes we do need to vocalize our hurts etc. But life is too short to spend it looking for ways to be offended or hurt. Often, when I am in a wounded situation, being around those “happy” people does the exact thing Proverbs claims, it becomes “good medicine” for me.
This verse has three major applications:
First, I need to seek out those with a merry or joyful heart. Being around people with a cheery disposition can do wonders for us. Often, I wonder if we would be better to just make a point to be around happy people when we’re feeling blue as opposed to seeking out a therapist. I’m not talking about major issues that require serious counsel, but I am talking about forcing oneself to seek out friends who are encouraging. Going to a fun event with fun people, laughing and having someone encourage us to find the positive in our situation rather than just concentrate in removing the negative.
The second application I see from this verse is how deflating a negative comment can be. This is especially true when the comment isn’t limited to one remark but opens a door for someone to vomit their negative outlook on anyone within earshot. At times, I have to make decision to not be around people who seem to relish polluting anyone around them with their constant negative outlook on things. It really can drag me down.
Finally, how do I come across to others? I can be one that discouraging others or I can be the person brings “good medicine” to a situation. It’s a choice we can make. We can bring either darkness through negative comments and opinions to a situation or we can bring light or “medicine” to our sphere of influence by a positive outlook.
So, next time you are tempted to add your two cents worth someone else’s problem, maybe a better approach would be to keep a positive outlook on things. Listen, but keep it positive. Then go out and do something fun together! Me? I like going to hockey games, but that’s another post!