Thursday, August 19, 2010

House of Mirth

3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For like the crackling of thorns under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool.
This also is vanity.
(Ecclesiastes 7:3-6, New King James Version)

House of Mirth

What is Solomon telling us in these four verses from Ecclesiastes 7? Is it wrong to laugh and have fun? I read through these verses several times asking myself the same question. I think the answer lies in the word, heart; heart is mentioned three times in verses 3 and 4.

*By a sad countenance the heart is made better.
*Heart of the wise
*Heart of fools

Christianity is a religion of the heart, not a religion of mere action. If the heart is not turned to God, the actions are irrelevant. Therefore the heart--the inner depths of a man's soul--is made better through times of sadness and grief than through times of laughter and mirth.

The heart of the wise understands this; laughter and fun is always tempered with the knowledge of the realities of life. Never, in the middle of laughter, should we forget the lessons we have learned during times of sadness and grief.

What of the heart of fools? In this case, the fool is the one who makes laughter in the house of mirth the end all of his life. His attitude is one of, "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may die." Rather than face the sadness and grief in life, he chooses to ignore it. His attitude is what I call the Scarlet O'Hara approach. I cannot face this today, I will think about it tomorrow. However, tomorrow never comes.

What are we to learn from these verses? Do not make the house of mirth the meaning of your life. Enjoy laughter, for it lifts the heart from the daily hum drum of life, but do so in temperance, always remembering the lessons learned from the days of sorrow and sadness.

God Bless You,

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