Laughter is Good Medicine,
Friendship, Tears, & a Good Diet
Excerpts from the sermon presented by Barrington H. Brennen
on Health & Temperance Sabbath, Centreville Church September 2, 2000
My first text today, and perhaps the text that intrigues me
the most is:
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a
crushed spirit dries up the bones." NIV
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken
spirit drieth the bones. " KJV
Should we take this text literally? Is laughter really a good
medicine and our bones can literally dry up when we have a crushed spirit, or in
other words, when we are depressed?
Another equally intriguing text is found is
Ecclesiastes 7:3: Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad
face is good for the heart." NIV
"Sorrow is better than laughter, because by the sadness
of the countenance the heart is made better." KJV
Is sorrow really better than laughter? Could it really affect
Hereís another text to ponder. This one is none Biblical.
That is although it was written during Bible times it was not selected among
those to be included in the Bible. These are usually called the Apocryphal
writings. As Seventh-day Adventists we believe that these writings do have some
"A faithful friend is the medicine of
life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him."
Here are the three types of medicine?:
Let these other texts
further complicate the picture. Proverbs 16:24:
"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the
"Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will
bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."
Here are other texts to ponder. Proverbs 19:13:
"A foolish son is the fatherís ruin. And a quarrelsome
wife is like is a constant dripping."
Do you know what a constant dripping of a water faucet can do
to you? "It can drive you crazy," to use a colloquial
"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go
down to a manís inmost parts."
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those
who love it will eat its fruit."
Here are the texts that we are most familiar with:
3 John 2:
"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good (total)
health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along
"Therefore, I urge you, believers, in view of Godís
mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to GodĖthis
is your spiritual act of worship."
1 Corinthians 7:19
Do you know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were
bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."
Letís answer some questions right here. Do you think that a
laughing and crying can really help the body? Do these actions produce medicine
within us? Modern research tells us YES.
For many of us when we laugh thatís the most exercise we
get in a week. Laughter causes us to breath in lots of air. It also stimulates a
certain part of the brain that intern stimulates the production of certain
endorphins (chemicals) which are beneficial for healing of the body. These
chemicals can also relax muscles and nerves.
When we free ourselves to cry, release the sorrow within, we
prevent the build up of disease carrying cells. We reduce tension, thus promote
healing of mind and body.
What can laughter do for you?
It activates the immune system
It actually increases your intellectual performance and
boosts information retention.
It makes our cheeks sore.
Research results at Loma Linda University, California, (A
Seventh-day Adventist University), show that after exposure to humor the
activity to the immune system include:
An increase in the number of activity level of killer
cells that attack viral infected cells and some types of cancer and tumor
An increase in activated T cells (T lymphocytes). There
are many T cells that await activation. Laughter appears to tell the immune
system to "turn it up a notch."
An increase in the antibody IgA (immunoglobulin), which
fights upper respiratory tract insults and infections.
Laughter, and also exercise, increases the level of endorphins
in body. What are endorphins doing in our body? In addition to the above,
Block the lesion of blood vessel: As the endorphins are
secreted more and more, the shrunken blood vessels return to a normal state
allowing blood to flow in a normal manner. Most adult diseases start from
clogged blood vessels. Endorphins help to improve the circulation of blood.
Endorphins have anti-aging effect by removing Superoxide.
Endorphins have a pain-relieving effect.
Endorphins help improve your memory.
There is something more important than having a good diet. It is having a
healthy mind, a sense of well being. The way we find this sense of well being,
and develop a healthy mind is through loving relationships relationship. God
is a God of relationships.
Let us see how broken relationships can do to us.
Several years ago two psychologists wanted to know the
effects of stress on the body. They developed the Social readjustment
rating scale. They gave points to various activities according to how
they saw the effect on people. Here are the results.
Social Readjustment Rating Scale
Just a sample
Events & Points
Death of a spouse - 100
Divorce - 73
Marital separation from mate - 65
Death of a close family member - 63
Marriage - 50
Being fired at work - 47
Death of a close friend - 37
Son or daughter leaving home - 29
Change in residence - 20
Vacation - 13
Christmas - 12
Their research show that persons accumulating 150-299 points
in one year, 50% become physically ill. Persons accumulating 300 points or more
in one year, 80% become physically ill.
Mental effects of stress: Forgetfulness, unable to
think clearly, difficulty making decisions, irritability and frustration, lower
self-esteem, feeling immobilized, feelings of panic, discouragement.
Physical exercise stimulates bones to produce blood
cells that can fight against diseases. (Nourishment to the bones)
How does the body respond to emotional stress?: Pupils
of eyes dilate (enlarge), heart rate increases, less blood flows to skin
(cold hands), breathing rate increases, digestive processes are inhibited,
mouth become dry, blood pressure increases, blood sugar concentrations rises,
urination is inhibited, skin changed -"goose bumps," hair standing
on end, sweating increases.
Research also shows that we can increase or decrease the
weight of our brain depending on our living environment and lifestyle. The
length of parts of brain cells increases when we are living in a wholesome
environment and have a wholesome lifestyle. They can also decrease if we cease
living that lifestyle. Our brain weight can increase or decrease between 1 - 3
Research also tells us that butons or buttons are
added our brain cells for every habit we develop. Therefore we have good and bad
butons. These will remain with us for the rest of our lives. It is up to us to
have more good habits than bad ones to remain healthy.
Let us remind ourselves of the eight laws of health: Rest,
Proper Diet, Abstemiousness, Exercise, Pure Water, Pure Air, Sunlight, Trust in
Divine Power. There is one more law of health. You can exercise 5 hours a day,
eat broccoli soup, drink soy bean milk, but without this one you can still die.
You will die first emotionally then physically. This ninth law of health is Loving
Could it be that some of us are also lacking spiritual
nutrients, thus we may have spiritual anemia? God needs us today
to be whole individuals. Mentally, spiritual, socially, and physically.
What are the spiritual nutrients for our soul? Prayer,
bible study, loving relationships, faith, hope. Even with a good diet and
proper exercise, and reading the Bible, a breakdown in a relationship can still
affect our bodies.
Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us the things God hates? Do you know
why He hates them? Because they destroy relationships.
Do you know that having loving relationships can affect our
longevity? Married men live longer than single men. Not married women. However,
women do need a relationship to live long.
Jesus said to his disciples is John 15:15
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does
not know his masterís business. Instead, I have called you FRIENDS, for
everything that I learned form my Father I have made known to you."
It is important to remember that the disciples were
Christians because they had a relationship with Jesus. Jesus needed
FRIENDS. Our neighbors, colleagues, and associates will know that we are His
disciples if we love one another." (John13:35) Not by super links or fry
pats, not by Sabbath services, or AY camps, not by daily exercise, although
these are all important, but by loving relationships. Then the most important
words for us today are "I LOVE YOU"
The ten commandments are described in the context of
relationships -- Love to God and to each other.
Here is Barrington Brennenís adaptation of 1 Corinthians
13. I wrote this to emphasize the message today:
"If I speak in tongues of nations and of angels, but have not a loving
attitude, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift
of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a
faith that can move mountains, but have no love in my heart, I am nothing.
If I am a vegetarian, and do not eat dairy products to reduce my sinus
problem, and cannot share lovingly with others, my diet is in vain. If I
exercise five times a week at Golds Gym or on R.M. Baily track, and cannot share
my energy in a loving way, my walking and running will be in vain. I can still
die of a heart attack.
If I am financially independent and able to give to all church projects but
have not love, my giving will be in vain. If I eat lots of broccoli soup to
reduce the cancer risk, make my own gluten, or eat only boil fish for meat, and
refuse to share in loving relationships, my life will be meaningless. I can
still die prematurely.
Love never fails. College degrees, pretty houses, gorgeous clothing, speaking
in tongues, evangelistic crusades, and health seminars, will all pass away. Now
these five remains. Financial independence, a healthy lifestyle, faith, hope,
and loving relationships. But the greatest of all of these is LOVING
Love through me, Love through me,
O Lord, love through me.
Needs your love today;
O, Lord, love through me
Weep through me, Weep through me;
O Lord, weep through me
As long as just one soul is gone astray;
O Lord, weep through me
Speak through me, Speak through me
Oh, Lord, speak through me.
Make you word upon my lips
A flame today O Lord, speak through me.
Needs your love today,
O, Lord, love through me.
O, Lord, love through me.