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Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)
TITLE: We Haven’t Grown Up Until We Can Laugh At Ourselves
By Doug Laird
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As odd as it may sound to human viewpoint, the Bible tells us that “Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.” (Eccl.7: 3 NIV). A pastor-friend of mine has said many times that he would rather speak at funerals than weddings because it is at funerals that people are in a mind set to listen.
What we find entertaining & humorous is also a good indication of where we are spiritually. This should cause great consternation on the part of anyone with an ounce of spiritual discernment when we examine the content of what is receiving some of greatest ratings on television during prime time. I’m not sure if it is the trash that is being presented or the fact that so many people are apparently being entertained by it that disturbs me the most. Perhaps even more distressing is the fact that many “Christians” can consistently schedule such things on their “things to do list”, but “just don’t have time” for the things of God.
We are warned that “obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking” (Eph. 5:4 NIV) is not to be part of our lifestyle if we are to be a disciple. All Christians are believers, but very few are disciples.
Inappropriate joking takes two persons to engage in it. One must choose to speak and other must willingly listen. Therefore, both are equally responsible for its perpetuation. Like a hot potato, people can’t wait for the opportunity to pass it along. What if the same zeal were applied to the spreading of the Gospel?
Where each one of us decides to draw the line between wholesome humor and inappropriate joking is something that each one of us must determine for himself, but the choices we make will be part of what defines our unspoken testimony.
A good indication that we are maturing is when we have achieved the ability to genuinely laugh at ourselves.
Believers must come to the point in the spiritual life where they unconditionally accept themselves as God has accepted them. This does not mean that we aren’t to identify and address our areas of weaknesses, but it does mean that we are to have a relaxed mental attitude that comes from not thinking “...of yourself more highly than you ought…(Romans 12:3 NIV)” and not having to prove anything to anyone.
Approbation lust can be just as detrimental as any other form of lust in the soul. The ability to laugh at oneself is a good indication that the believer is secure in his relation with God and others. While he must continue along the path of sanctification, he does not impose unrealistic expectations on himself or others and usually develops s fine sense of humor.
It doesn’t bother him when he is ridiculed or ostracized for his beliefs or convictions. When a believer can laugh at the jokes that others make about him, it can disarm & discourage the enemy (Phil. 1:28) and is a powerful testimony to those observing his response. (Matt.5: 11, 12 NIV).
The ability to laugh at oneself allows us the opportunity to objectively look into the mirror and perceive the number one person responsible for most of our problems. We are all the product of our own decisions. If we cannot laugh at ourselves, it is because we lack the spiritual maturity and discernment it takes to accept personal responsibility for our decisions. As a result, we go on the defensive and play the blame game in which we identify the faults & behavior of others as the cause of our problems instead of coming to the realization of what the real conflict is all about (Eph.6: 12).
Mastering the ability to laugh at oneself will enhance our spiritual, physical, and emotional health and is the best usage of the gift of laughter than God has given us.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.