Psalm 126:2-3 – “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad.” NKJV
I had a very serious saint in a particular church I was leading who said to me, “You cannot be a real man of God because you laugh and tell jokes.” She was dead serious! I laughed and had to apologize for any seeming disrespectfulness but I found her assertion laughable and almost beyond belief.
However, after years of Christian service I have discovered there are a significant number of believers who believe that we must be “sour and dour” or we are not exhibiting righteousness and godliness. They are “sour and dour” while the world is “crying and dying.” I know that the passage in Hebrews 1:9 speaking of Jesus being anointed with the “oil of gladness” is not speaking about humor but anointing but the message through scripture is that laughter is like medicine and a good thing not an example of a worldly or evil heart. It could be but cannot be a blanket description.
In Luke 6:21, Jesus said, “…Blessed are you that weep now: for you shall laugh.” Job, a man who endured incredible difficulty in life spoke in Job 8:21 of God filling our mouths with laughter and our lips shouting joy.
The wisdom of Ecclesiastes is revealed in 3:2-4 where we are informed there is “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”
Even the Proverbs 31 woman is described as being a person that “laughs without fear of the future.” Then in Proverbs 17:22, we find that a “cheerful or merry heart” is like medicine but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. So I ask which is better, “being able to laugh” or being “sour and dour” and presenting an image that no one outside the faith would want.
In Proverbs 15 we find in v.13 the declaration that “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.” Then in v.15, we are told, “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”
So, again, which is better “Sour and Dour” or demonstrating the ability to “Laugh and Smile”? I truly believe that God has a sense of humor, after all, we are made in His image and likeness are we not? If we have that woven in our nature and have that ability do you think God does not?
The lady that came to me with her accusation of my condition was not amused when I asked if she thought God had a sense of humor. She said, “He is serious because life is serious.” Therefore, I could only conclude that her answer was no, so I said, “I am reminded of His sense of humor every morning when I look in the mirror.” She said, “Are you saying I’m funny looking?” then stormed off in a huff. No, I said, “When I looked in the mirror I was reminded of God’s sense of humor.”
Let me state emphatically that a person laughing and making light of everything may well be hiding behind that mask of frivolity not wanting to face and address real problems in life. But, if we remember the words of the writer of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything…”
There are times that laughter brings healing to a heart and can restore relationships as well as enable a person to move past a difficult moment. There are times when laughter and lightheartedness are inappropriate and thus the warning of Ephesians 5:3-4, “But among you, there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiving.” Ecclesiastes 7:6 also tells us, “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.”
What kind of person has zero sense of humor? In my view, that would be a robot not a human being with feelings and emotions. As I read the encounters of our Lord with the Pharisees I cannot miss His wit and humor.
If you read the parables and his zippy asides to Roman authorities, His tart replies to the Scribes and Pharisees, and even His off-the-cuff remarks how do you not see His humor? God in me brings JOY and I want to be so overflowing with JOY that people who meet me are not threatened by me or turned off by my “Sour and Dour” outlook they want what I have and open their hearts to hear about Jesus.
Yes, you can joke too much and at the wrong times but if you never see the humor in anything my heart breaks for you. I want to embrace life and live it abundantly rather than simply endure life and live in day to day drudgery thinking I am making God proud in being “Sour and Dour.”
God bless you as you go through this wonderful day and “Live, Love, and Laugh” it will make the day go better and even extend your lifespan according to many reports I have read.