divineinsight: BY HUMPHREY MTANDWA
Laughter and tears can both be responses to frustration. Some people, when they are dealing with difficulties try to vent their anger by becoming more comical and finding humour in almost anything. Comedy has a way of bringing light-heartedness — a form of joy. The Bible says a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
In ancient Rome, it was the culture of powerful political families to entertain, pacify and distract the multitudes from their problems by having gladiator games. These families understood if the crowds where entertained, they would be less aggressive. They invested a lot in the entertainment of the crowds because they understood the power of joy. If the crowds were entertained, they would have the strength and joy to soldier on even if things were difficult. Laughter has a way to diffuse tense situations. A single joke can pacify an angry group of people.
What is joy? Is it real joy when it is used to oppress and manipulate people? The Oxford dictionary says, “joy is a great feeling of pleasure and happiness”.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, good fortune, or by the prospect of possessing what one desires”.
From the Bible, we deduce that joy is a mindset, a state of one’s heart that brings contentment and confidence as well as hope. The challenge with joy induced through comedy and entertainment is, it does not last. This joy is temporal because it is not coming from within (heart or mind) but just provoked by external forces. A drug can induce ecstasy but once it’s no longer in your body and your no longer state of ecstasy that joy becomes depression. But only the joy that comes from God’s Spirit and his word is permanent. The Bible speaks about how in the presence of God there is fullness of joy and at his right hand pleasures for ever more. Joy comes from God and without God man cannot have true joy.
Yet man seems not to gravitate towards the word of God, which produces godly joy because it’s not as attractive as worldly joy derived from jokes and entertainment). A person can laugh and yet be going through pain and it is almost difficult to see through this facade because it is well hidden in emotions of worldly joy, which is temporary. When the induced joy leaves, the peace it brought is lost immediately. One can laugh and be at peace for that moment. But when it is joy that comes from God’s word, it changes your mind and produces in you the mindset needed for the change you desire. The Word of God carries the potential to change any situation.
As a nation, it is time to rise above worldly joy and seek godly joy that can bring a shift in our nation, families and church. The Romans could only entertain the people for short periods of time because with time frustration would outweigh the induced joy. Yes we can remain entertained and yet not having solutions to the issues affecting our nation. We can seek the Lord and begin to see the mind of God for the issues affecting our nation (doctors’ strike, food shortages, fuel issues, bad governance and poor service delivery).
The church can bring about the desired change needed in our nation. It is okay to laugh but laughter alone without God’s Spirit is part of the enemy’s strategies to keep a person in bondage. It is time to seek godly joy by becoming more prayerful and seek God’s word for our nation, families and church. Refuse worldly joy that is only temporary. God bless you.
l Humphrey Mtandwa is an anointed minister of the gospel and teacher of the Word based in South Africa. He has written several books including The Enoch Generation, Truthfulness and Theophany. He blogs at mtandwa.blogspot.com and can be contacted via e-mail or WhatsApp on +27 610286350.