There are three times the word “merry” is used in the book of Proverbs (KJV); two of them are found in chapter 15 (15:13, 15:15). The word “merry” means to be glad, joyful, or cheerful. To have an upbeat positive outlook you will have to understand yourself and your attitudes and emotions. I read a story about a man who thought the whole world stunk; he was the opposite of being joyful. There was an irritable old grandpa who lay down to take a nap. To have a little fun, his grandson put some limburger cheese on his mustache under his nose. Grandpa awoke with a snort, charged out of the bedroom and shouted, “This room stinks!” On through the house he went, shouting louder, “This whole house stinks!” He charged out on the porch and shouted as loud as he could, “The whole world stinks!” The truth is, it was Grandpa who stunk. The problem was under his own nose, or rather it was in his mind. He did not have a joyful heart and therefore he did not have a joyful look. His attitude and emotions made every place in his life unpleasant.
Our emotions are usually reflected in our facial appearance. Proverbs 15:13 states, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” A smiling face usually reveals a joyful, happy spirit, and a sad face may indicate a broken or conflicted heart. In Genesis 4, Cain was so upset over the rejection of his offering that God warned him of the spiritual danger that he was in. Cain’s face had fallen and he was angry; God warned him that sin was like a crouching animal at the door waiting to have mastery over him. God gave him counsel, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” If he chose to do what is right and good then he would be accepted. If he chose the right path he would not have a fallen expression but an uplifted expression. Simply put: if you do right you will feel right, if you feel right (have a merry heart) it will be revealed in a happy face! The Word of God ministered in the power of the Spirit can replace falleness with upliftedness and sorrow with joy. If, like Cain, you have done something unacceptable in God’s eyes, the proper response is to confess it and forsake it (Proverbs 28:13); then claim the forgiveness that is promised in Jesus (1 John 1:9). Exercise your faith and your will to believe and do right (by God’s grace). Believe and do what Jesus said to a sick man in Matthew 9:2, “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
Proverbs 15:15 declares, “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” The afflicted means those who are going through personal distress like poverty, physical weakness or trials of some sort. We will all go through personal distress; however, those who have a merry heart while in the trial will see and receive a blessing. For example, Junior was one of those upbeat persons. One day at school went like this. He fell from the school bus, hitting his head on the concrete. It required three stitches to close the wound. During recess he and another boy bumped into each other. This broke two of Junior’s teeth and cut his lip. During the afternoon he fell and broke his arm. The teacher decided to take him home before anything else could happen. On the way, the teacher saw him clutching something in his hand. Junior showed him a quarter that he had found in the playground. Then Junior smiled and said, “Teacher, I’ve never found a quarter before. This is my lucky day.” For him, life was a continual feast. As a physician of the soul, I want to give you a spiritual prescription from Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Cultivate a joyful heart!