Blessed 4th day of Lent!
After what I wrote yesterday, you might think: but how can I be cheerful when I am feeling so sad or upset? Didn’t you just say that Jesus had feelings of agony, distress, anger, grief, etc.?
My guess is that the person writing this proverb knew full well that a range of emotions is completely normal. After all, the Scripture is filled with emotion, and much of it poured out to God in prayer (take look at the book of Psalms!). I am a firm believer that we have a right to be honest about our feelings.
However, when we bring an overall attitude of cheerfulness to others, it spreads like a positive kind of energy flow. Some of the studies I’ve read say even using your “smiling muscles” on your face brings a change in the way your brain and body are experiencing the moment. Certainly when we smile at another person, it often brings a smile to their face and a pleasant feeling going forward into their day. We have the ability to spread joy–or at least comfort in the midst of sorrow.
The “bones” in the bible often refer to the deepest essence of a person…as in “I feel it deep down in my bones” or “deep in the marrow of my bones”… So I think the writer Proverbs 17:22 is reminding us that if we feed our spirits constantly with “downers” (for example, feeding ourselves on the media so much that we are constantly afraid or anxious–and spreading that fear to others), then we risk harming ourselves at the deeper level of who we are at core.
What do you think? I welcome your comments below.