By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“ON BEING GLAD”
“Therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you, o God, will not abandon me.” – Psalms 16:9-10a
I learned long ago… happiness is an inside job.
You don’t believe me? Hang out with people for a while. Friends. Family. Strangers. Fellow fans. Throw a party. Social distancing practiced. Join a protest. Social distancing ignored. Post a comment on Facebook and watch what happens. You’ll feel the love, or you’ll feel the arrows. Everybody has some… love and arrows, that is…
On the mantel of my fireplace I have some wooden blocks. They are the cubed message providers marked with letters and symbols and I change them more often than I build fires in the space below. Well, this is Texas. The message there now reads like this… “BE GLAD TODAY.” So, I am. Despite the negativity which I hear on the news and in public conversations, today I choose to be glad. I have my reasons. It seems the interconnection of heart and mind and spirit have something to do with that.
Again, this stuff isn’t new. In fact, we are all better off to trust ancient schemes and proven postures than to trust in new-fangled gadgets and gizmos designed to entertain our eyes and brains for a short while. Jesus said it like this… “it’s not what comes into us that defiles us… it’s what comes deep from in our hearts and across our tongues and out of our mouths that causes us trouble and concern to all those around us.” Well, he wasn’t so long-winded, but I think that’s what he meant. You can look it up in Matthew 15:8 if you need to. Jesus’ use of the term “defile” is prophetic… as in the defiling words we speak do bring on life’s stench and the stink- what we want to run away from repeatedly again and again. But, it’s difficult to run away from yourself and it only gets worse the more one denies their own personal involvement. Kind of like the young man arrested in a peaceful protest for hitting a police officer’s horse in the face with a brick. Our words and actions ripple farther than we think!
So, why is the Psalmist’s heart glad? For what good cause is his tongue moved to rejoicing? It seems that when gladness comes from the heart it is because the Lord is near and there is a confidence in life that leads to not being alone. It is in the knowing that God will not abandon me or you or anyone else no matter what we think, say, or do! Faith matters. It does.
Justin Martyr said it this way in the middle of the 2nd century A.D. … “We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ Jesus, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.” And as much as I’d like to believe this is true, I just don’t hear many people talking this way… and maybe that means there are far too many who have allowed anger, hate and a certain kind of wretchedness to camp out in their hearts only to bring about a compromised spirit and a rest-less life. It is like I have said in coaching students over the years… “If we don’t fill our hearts with the things of God, we will fill them with whatever is close by and easily attained.” Being human is hard work!
So, BE GLAD TODAY! Happiness is an inside job. God believes that for us. God’s faith matters as no one else will do it for you and no one else needs to. God’s faith in us is enough!
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog