Topic: Good Medicine [(October 5, 2016)
Read: Ephesians 4:25–32
Bible in a Year: Isaiah 23–25; Philippians 1
A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22
Careless driving, rising tempers, and use of foul language among some taxi and minibus drivers are a constant source of traffic fights in our city of Accra, Ghana. But one traffic incident I witnessed took a different turn. A bus was almost hit by a careless taxi driver. I expected the bus driver to get angry and yell at the other driver, but he didn’t. Instead, the bus driver relaxed his stern face and smiled broadly at the guilty-looking taxi driver. And the smile worked wonders. With a raised hand, the taxi driver apologized, smiled back, and moved away—the tension diffused.
A smile has a fascinating effect on our brain chemistry. Researchers have found that “when we smile it releases brain chemicals called endorphins which have an actual physiological relaxing effect.” Not only can a smile diffuse a tense situation, but it can also diffuse tension within us. Our emotions affect us as well as others. The Bible teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Eph. 4:31–32).
When anger or tension or bitterness threatens our relationship with the Lord and with others, it helps to remember that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” for our own joy and well-being.
Think about a time when you were angry with someone or when you had an argument. How did you feel inside? What parts of your life did it affect?
We find joy when we learn to live in Jesus’s love.
Insight: Paul tells his readers to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Eph. 4:31). The Greek word translated “get rid of” is artheto, and it means to lift something for the purpose of carrying it off or putting it away. Getting rid of sinful and destructive behavior requires that we allow the Holy Spirit to remove those things that mark our former life (4:17–24) so that the compassion and forgiveness of Christ (v. 32) will flourish.