See also: Ecclesiastes 8:15
It is good to be happy in the LORD when possible. However, because “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12), we are often “in heaviness through manifold temptations” (I Peter 1:6). Even in emotional sorrow, we can rejoice in God, having inner joy and peace. On the other hand, those who reject God’s Word do not sorrow for sin because they love darkness, and so they often “make merry” in this life, without thinking about the judgment to come; but they have no inner rest or peace (Isaiah 57:21).
In Proverbs 17:22, Solomon is not saying which is right or wrong—a merry heart or a broken spirit—he is just saying what each causes. Nonetheless, a merry heart in the LORD is a good thing, but sometimes it is not possible due to our trials. Additionally, God expects a repentant sinner to have a broken heart (Joel 2:13), though this repentance ultimately yields peace and joy. When a Christian cannot have emotional happiness due to trials, he/she should still have inner peace and joy in Christ. The wise think about the future, and often this makes them sad when they see the sin in the world and realize the punishment to come, whereas the foolish think only about today.
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