To Laugh or Not to Laugh?

Feb 15, 2019

Good Morning Fellow Travelers,

Proverbs 17:22 challenges us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Laughter is a life-changing gift to mankind. It has been proven that people who laugh much do better than people who do not laugh. Does this mean that laughter is always appropriate and good?

Dr. Clifford Kuhns reports that children ages three to five laugh 250-300 times a day, while adults ages thirty to thirty-five average laughing only 15 times a day. Studies show that laughter has a profound and instantaneous effect on virtually every important organ in the human body. It reduces health sapping tensions and relaxes the tissues as well as exercising the most vital organ. Scriptures say, “A merry heart heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13).

What makes us laugh? The causes of laughter may be as varied as our personalities, but a dry humor or a witty comment is a quick way to bring a smile and some laughter. Watching others laugh can be infectious and make one laugh at the least expected times. Laughter has an involuntary element to it, but laughter also has voluntary actions for which we are responsible. We are responsible for our actions, attitudes, and words. We need to guard what we laugh at and/or when we laugh at it. Everything is not funny and everything is not helpful to our Christian witness. Derision and scorn for people or what they value is not appropriate humor. Laughter at the expense of someone else’s feelings is plain un-Christian. Proverbs 6:6 says, “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot so is the laughter of the fool: This also is vanity.” Though is is good to laugh often, we are accountable for our laughter.

The Bible instructs us there is “…a time to laugh…” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). We have likely seen how laughter changes one’s day. But just because children ages three to five laugh 230-300 times a day, does not mean adults need to thoughtlessly do the same. A maturity to recognize the seriousness of what we laugh at should characterize the Spirit-filled life. It has been said, “We are not to stop laughing…We are to start taking seriously the topics we laugh at, recognizing that what we laugh at, we no longer take seriously.”

Let us be ready to laugh when appropriate. It will do us good and will impact the world’s view of Christianity. Use it much! Laughter is a good gift when used wisely but when used unwisely overrides what we want to portray.

Dale Eby

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