Joy In The Genes


A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:13, NKJV


A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.


I’ve always understood the Proverbs to be random sayings on unrelated subjects but my thinking was flawed. The Proverbs are filled with Chaisms or clusters. A chaism is made up of parallels that are surrounding the heart or core of the chaism. The heart expresses a truth and the parallels on each side substantiate that truth. Sometime this clusters come with three verses, sometimes five and sometimes seven. The parallelism doesn’t stop with the small clusters: Proverbs 15:1 to 16:8 is a large cluster of 41 verses. Look at Proverbs 15:1 and compare it to 15:18 or 15:7 with 15:28. What we have here is a collection of verses [15:1-17] that have parallels in verses 15:8-16:8. This is something that I would have never discovered on my own. There are also many acrostics in Proverbs but of course you lose this in the translation. It is an amazing book.

So today’s verse has a parallel just one verse away: Verse 13…A cheerful heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit…and then verse 15…All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. In chapter 17, Solomon says, A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Some people seem to be born happy with joy in their genes. Most people agree that there are four basic personality types: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic. The first two are extroverted and the last two are introverted. When it comes to merriment and fun, the Sanguines [monkeys] have the edge. They are out going, talkative, and usually, the life of the party. I have some Choleric tendencies but the Sanguine is my dominant personality. My daughter Holly is just like me unfortunately. Both Holy and I have a lot of Choleric but the fun loving monkey in us is dominant. Joe David’s dominant personality is Choleric [Lion]. June’s dominant is Melancholy. Hannah is Phlegmatic. I’m not sure about Hope she has both introverted and extroverted tendencies. She would have to take the test which can be done on line.

If Holly and I are not talking, laughing and cracking jokes, things are really bad. Introverted people have a tendency to look down on the sanguine’s because we share our feelings; we don’t keep much to ourselves. The Melancholy’s keep everything to themselves and view the sharing of feelings as a weakness. I really believe there is something to Solomon’s wisdom...A cheerful heart is good medicine...which is one reason I try to make others laugh. I think laughter is good. Years ago, I apologized to man after I had entertained the waiting room during his wife’s surgery. I apologized for the excessive jokes.  He said, “No apology is needed, you got our mind off of the surgery and made the time past faster.” Maybe the guy was just being nice but I going to stick to my guns on this one: it doesn’t hurt anyone to laugh.

We discussed dealing with unhappy people in our small group last Sunday night. Unhappy people are looking for an opportunity to dump and as one of our members said, “You can’t ask them how they are doing, they will tell you.” Eventually, we duck these kind of people because we all have problems and we don’t want to hear about the problems of others. The truth is: we like happy people and enjoy being with them.

Worked on old Ed yesterday. Got my new front tires mounted but didn’t have much luck with the rear. I finally covered old Ed back up and decided to wait for another day. Our garden is too wet to plow anyway. Jim seemed a little better yesterday. I will be preaching tonight at DBC and this Sunday at Lebanon.

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