He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with a shout of joy. (Job 8:21)
When was the last time you laughed so hard your cheeks or stomach hurt? What was so funny?
How would you describe your sense of humor?
In what situations do you find yourself laughing inappropriately—thinking something is funny that is probably not?
We all need to laugh. Laughter relaxes us. We celebrate through laughter. We express ourselves through laughter. We relate to others through laughter. But laughter can also be inappropriate. Of course, if God gives us laughter, it will be authentic. When we know what laughter is authentic and which is fake, we can determine when our laughter is from God, when we laugh to be polite or included, or when we laugh because we’re nervous and don’t know what else to do. Authentic laughter will always honor God. That means if something doesn’t honor God, it’s not funny—no matter what you’ve been raised to believe, what habits you’ve developed, and what you rationalize as funny. Laughter is about fully enjoying what God has given us. He didn’t gift us with laughter so we could use it to celebrate or support anything contrary to his will. That doesn’t mean Christians have to be serious all the time. There’s plenty of joy in God’s world to fully celebrate with side-splitting laughter! When we laugh at what is not God-honoring, we’re robbing ourselves of the joy God intends for us.
When you find yourself rationalizing your laughter at a movie, television show, or real life situation, reconsider your motivation. Consider one thing when wondering whether or not you should laugh at something: “If it nailed Jesus to the cross, it’s not funny.” In other words, if it’s not God-honoring, it’s not funny.
Invite laughter into your day. Look around you and fully experience the joy God is giving you. Share laughter with others. If you find yourself laughing inappropriately, choose today to form new, more God-honoring habits.