Why Mourning Excels Mirth
PIETY or wisdom is not measured by the length of the face. Neither is joy of heart announced by the continual cackle of mirth. Solomon commended mirth, but also said there is “a time to weep”. (Eccl. 3:4; 8:15) Our times are perilous, the days wicked. The peoples are beset by woes, in the throes of delinquency, threatened by sobering dangers. Only frustration is the result of their attempt to escape these grim realities by a desperate pursuit of pleasure. Even millions claiming to be Christian prove to be “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God”.—Eph. 5:16; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:12, NW.
Sensible persons are saddened by such conditions, and seek knowledge of their cause. Foolish ones shrug them off as normal, try to laugh them off in a splurge of riotous living. Actually, the Bible foretells these conditions as a part of the sign that we live in the last days of this old world and may soon enter the first days of an everlasting new world of righteousness. Only the sober-minded will perceive this. Christ Jesus said: “Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh.” And again, “Woe, you who are laughing now, because you will mourn and weep.”—Luke 6:21, 25, NW.
Continual revelry and hilarity now, in these crucial times of decision, without any sober consideration of the issues confronting humankind, will lead to future mourning and prevent entrance into Jehovah’s new world where sorrow and sighing will flee away forever. On the other hand, those who now mourn over these critical times and meditate upon them in the light of God’s Word may discern that they indicate we now live in the last days, and their weeping eyes are opened to see the time when a new world will come, and in which God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes”. (Luke 21:28; Rev. 21:4, NW) It is the contrite heart that God accepts, the mourning mind that he comforts, the sighing and crying one that he marks for salvation, and not the frivolous funster. “Wisdom builds the house of life: frivolity pulls it down.”—Prov. 14:1, Mo; Ps. 51:17; Isa. 61:1, 2; Ezek. 9:3-6.
Some mirth now is valuable for relaxation and emotional change of pace, but it does not edify to eternal life. The course that excels now is to soberly face things, make our minds wise to the issues by serious study and meditation, rather than squander the best part of our mental energy in quest of hilarious laughter. Better to listen to wise rebuke and exhortation than to lose ourselves in pursuit of mirth. Hence God’s Word advises: “Better is sorrow than laughter, for through a sad face the mind is improved. The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the mind of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better that a man should hear the rebuke of the wise, than that he should hear the song of fools. For like nettles crackling under kettles is the cackle of a fool.”—Eccl. 7:3-6, AT and Mo.