We normally think of finding joy to replace sorrow or to overcome joylessness. Those certainly are valid pursuits.
But cleansing joy is necessary, at times, as we grow from one joy to another.
For example, when I was a teen, I was the neighborhood bully in a physical sense, and I was emotionally cruel in the family. I enjoyed telling a joke that made someone else look bad.
I did those things because I experienced joy from them.
Today, neither of those activities would bring me the slightest bit of joy. I am quite ashamed of the little monster I was once upon a time.
Then there were my days as an evangelical pastor where I found significant joy in theologically proving an arcane position. Again, life has moved on and I have no joy in theological disputes.
That was followed by the deliverance phase. I had lots of joy in busting some demon’s chops. Today, deliverance is just a necessary nuisance. I derive some joy out of people’s freedom, but whupping a demon – not so much.
Once upon a time, there was some joy over Facebook likes. Any more, I consider them so meaningless (and fickle) that I couldn’t even tell you how many I have.
I used to find a lot of joy in my necktie collection. Now I begrudge getting out of my polo shirt into long sleeves, never mind the noose.
So we heal from some of our carnal joys. We outgrow some of our childish pleasures. We grow larger and have deeper capacity for more nuanced or esoteric joys.
Today I find joy in giving the gift of dignity to a stranger I will only see for 30 seconds.
There is joy in helping someone find intimacy with God.
There is the joy of savoring land, exquisitely nuanced by my God.
There is the joy of discovering fractals throughout the human body.
There is the joy of watching my King play brinkmanship with the devil on an international playing field.
Much more noble than the crass and crude joys of childhood. It is good to have grown to a more refined level of joy, but it is also necessary to cleanse our joy stream from the defilement of yesteryear.
From home, because it just bubbled up.