Sorrow is better than laughter

Ecclesiastes is an awesome book of the Bible. God gave Solomon (possibly the richest men ever) a large portion of wisdom. Not only this, Solomon wanted to learn wisdom. So, Solomon, a man who is blessed with almost unlimited resources, sets out to find wisdom. He chronicles his journey, and at the end of the book, he gives the revelation of all wisdom and duty.

While reading the book you can find countless nuggets of wisdom that lead you on a trail to find the ultimate sum of wisdom. In Ecclesiastes 7:3, we find one such nugget. It reads, “Sorrow is better than laughter.” Yes, sorrow is better than laughter. Now before you think that Solomon is an extremely depressed individual, let’s look at the rest of the verse. It finishes with, “For by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.”

When I first read this I was a little confused, but as I read the surrounding verses the meaning became clear. Solomon is telling us that by sadness and reflection, we gain wisdom and understanding. I mean, how much character building goes on during a time of endless joking? Usually not much. Our character is built, many times, in those times of sadness. When we pause and reflect on what is truly meaningful in life.

In the previous verse, Solomon tells us that it is better to mourn than to feast, “for that [death] is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart.” How many times have you heard of someone having a turning point in their life when they realized how short life was? I know I have heard of such a transformation many times.

From the wisdom of Solomon we can learn that the sad times in our life build character. And for that, we should be thankful.

So my friends, don’t be afraid to think on something sorrowful from time to time. Allow the shortness of life and the gravity of things to affect you. In contrast, be wary of those who never think on things that provide seriousness. Don’t allow yourself to seek laughter without end, but don’t shy from laughter either. God tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

Laughter is a gift from God to help us enjoy life, but let us not forget that sorrow is a gift also, to help us treasure it.


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