God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.
Do you ever see the funny side of life? Or is your life so full of trouble that you have lost the ability to laugh? Is humor appropriate for Christians? Most emphatically! The Bible speaks a great deal about being merry, glad, and full of joy. All through the scriptures we are admonished to rejoice. The Bible also speaks of laughter. While rejoicing may not always be the result of humor, I believe that humor does play an important part in making the heart merry. Laughter is a very powerful instrument in our lives. I cannot imagine being merry and full of joy without it.
Since Solomon repeatedly addresses the issue in the book of Proverbs, we may safely conclude that he experienced times of rejoicing and merriment.“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Is your heart broken? Perhaps sorrow has become the ruling power in your life. God understands our times of sorrow, but He has not destined us to live in a vale of tears and grief forever. He has made provision for our healing through the blood of Jesus and fellowship with Him. He has deposited His joy within us if we are born again. The word translated merry in Proverbs 15 means “glad, merry, joyful, making merry”. Solomon tells us that “he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” This word “merry” means “ pleasure, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, well-favored”. Do you experience pleasure in life, a sweetness, a merry heart? Are you prospering in your spirit? Do you wish to be well-favoured? Feast your heart on good things that will stimulate that merry heart. Take the apostle Paul’s advice and think only on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” It is a proven
Making people laugh
fact that people who suffer from serious illnesses have a far greater chance of recovery when they laugh a lot. Solomon knew this centuries ago. The medical profession could have saved itself a great deal of trouble when it sought to prove its theory if these people had simply read the Bible. Those who are bereft of joy and laughter are often victims of depression and various physical ailments. Sometimes their bodies succumb to serious illness. Take precautions to reduce the risk of consequences of this type; be sure to make a place for a daily dose of laughter.
We are told that after the great sacrifice had been made, Solomon “sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” Rejoicing played an important role in the lives of God’s chosen people. When they were obedient and served Him, they experienced joy; when they disobeyed and rebelled against His will, there was no rejoicing. But Solomon wasn’t the only person in the Bible to talk of being merry. In his letter, James admonishes Christians: “Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.” 1 He knew that a song of praise was an appropriate expression of joy. It also promotes an increase of joy in your life. If you are feeling depressed in spirit, try singing a song of praise. It will do wonders for your disposition. Also spend time in the company of others who are filled with the joy of the Lord. You will find that joy is contagious.
Now, let’s look at laughter in the Bible. Solomon tells us that there is a “time to weep, and a time to laugh.” 1 Obviously there will be times in our lives when laughter is absent because of loss and sorrow, and in times when we have sinned and need to repent. But, as Solomon says, there is a time when laughter is good. This is the laughter of merriment. You cannot make merry in silence. Have you ever tried to hold back laughter when something looked so funny to you but you knew you shouldn’t laugh? Then you know what I mean.
When Jesus taught the people what we now call the Beatitudes, He told them that they who weep now are blessed, for they “shall laugh”. The word here means “to laugh as a sign of joy or satisfaction”.1 Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit whose attributes include joy.1 As Christians, we also have the Holy Spirit within, therefore we have the joy of the Lord. Sometimes it needs to be awakened; sometimes in needs to be stimulated in order to increase. This will happen as we are determined to seek the Lord with all of our hearts. Although we are not told in so many words in scripture, I have no doubt that Jesus laughed. People were attracted to Him, and people are seldom drawn to those who are constantly sombre and humorless.
Though Job’s friends were poor sources of comfort to him in all his trials, they did occasionally make a good point. One of them, Bildad, told Job, “Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing” .1 Here we find laughter directly connected to rejoicing. Bildad knew God well enough to believe a time of joy would follow a time of trouble. The psalmist says that “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”1 The Israelites had been in captivity for seventy years, and when they were set free, they laughed. They laughed because of the goodness of their God. They laughed because they were released from bondage. We, too, have every reason to laugh. Our God is good to us. He has set us free in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Laughter is defined as “the experience of joy, merriment, amusement or the like”.1 To laugh is “to express mirth, to manifest joy”.1 Joy must be expressed. When laughter is absent from your life, everything will seem dull and drab. The presence of laughter is like sunshine as it bursts through storm clouds. Often we need to change our perspective concerning the things that happen to us on a day to day basis in order to experience the warmth of that sunshine. Let’s look at some hypothetical situations where aggravation and anger could be defused by a little light-hearted laughter.
Your three-year-old just fed the dog the steak you were defrosting for dinner. How will you react? She has also dumped a bag of flour over the dog’s head. Do you see that as funny? ( I use these examples because, many years ago, I knew a family with a young boy who did those very things, among many other antics.) I’m sure your initial instinct would be to get angry and punish the child out of frustration.
Crash! Oh, no! The cat just knocked over your favorite plant and scattered the freshly-watered soil all over the carpet you recently had cleaned. The plant is ruined. And now muddy paw prints criss-cross the cream-colored couch and carpet marking the road to its hiding place behind the chair. How are you going to react? We might have an instant urge to shoot the cat. But, minus the gun, we would at least shout at him, grab him and throw him outside. Some of us would dejectedly sit down in the middle of the floor and cry. Others would be on hands and knees, grumbling, but cleaning up, and probably only spreading the muddy mess further. A good time to pray for patience! How many of us would laugh? Perhaps you think that would be either inappropriate or simply impossible.
Let me tell you a true story, one in which I was the central character. It happened one night about twenty years ago. I attended Bible study at church on Wednesday evenings. On this particular evening, the regular pianist could not be there, so the assistant pastor asked me if I would play. I followed him onto the platform where he showed me which songs he wanted me to play. All was well with that until, without thinking about where I was, I took a step backwards. Of course, my foot met with thin air, my whole body followed and I ended up on my bottom end in a V-shaped position. How, I will never know, but I found myself instantly on my feet. Maybe the Lord sent angels to help in this embarrassing situation. Everyone came running to make sure I wasn’t hurt. But my first instinct was to laugh. I didn’t live that down very soon, especially where one couple was concerned. They, too, loved to laugh and to see the funny side of things. For at least six months, every time I remembered the incident, I burst out laughing. It didn’t matter if I was driving, in bed, alone, or wherever else. The laughter would start. And to ease your minds, no, I did not injure myself. At least, not knowingly. I have since been told by a massage therapist that my tail bone in out of alignment, so that may have been the original cause.
So next time something exasperating occurs in your life, try to see the funny side. It may take some determined effort to search for it. If it is only childish mischievousness that has irritated you, without compromising your discipline of the child, look for humor in the situation. Find a reason to laugh (of course, never in front of the child unless you want him to venture on new escapades worse than these!). How would an outsider react on surveying the scene? Probably with laughter, although she may attempt to conceal her hilarity. Laughter releases tension. Laughter lightens the load. If you can find someone else to laugh with, the release is even more profitable. Try it, and see if you don’t feel better. Remember, nothing ever looks as bad in retrospect as it does when you are in the middle of it. It’s all in the perspective
I hope you were able to find something to laugh about as you read Part One of this Three-Part article. Please come back to read the next two parts. And if you are not already following me, just click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mail notifications for each new post. Try to find something in your own life to laugh about today and stir up the joy of the Lord.
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Have a wonderful and joyful week interspersed with times of laughter, preferably with a friend or family member. God bless you.