The month of April is in fact, the official time set aside to celebrate a good chuckle, a guffaw or a hearty laugh as part of a faith-filled life. It is Holy Humor Month!
The Bible is clear that God believes humor should be on the agenda as a healthy habit. Proverbs 17:22 NKJ “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”
When God brought Sarah the baby He had promised, she says, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6 NLT
“Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.” Romans 12:15 MSG
What do these verses have in common? They both talk about laughing with others, not at them.
In this same chapter of Romans that Paul exhorts us “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.”
Have you noticed how mean-spirited the humor in our world has become? The stuff that passes for “funny” in our movies, our books and on television is often a laugh at someone else’s expense. That includes the host of mother-in-law jokes that circulate so often. While it might be funny to some, to those involved – not so much.
Though cheap laughs have been popular forever, it wasn’t until the 1890s that slapstick became king and gave birth to a school of comedy built entirely on people getting beat up. Slapstick humor has a long history – the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton built an entire career on his ability to “take a fall” – as in take a licking and keep on ticking. So, ultimately we laughed at his pain.
As I researched this article, I discovered a common theme and theory: pain is the basis for all humor. One source explained, “It’s a simple fact that if nobody gets hurt, it isn’t funny.” For example, when Wiley Coyote falls off a cliff, and comes up battered, stars circling his head, that’s funny. If he had landed safely, that’s not funny.
Emotional pain is also the basis of a lot of funny stuff. So let’s add ethnic jokes, gender jokes, even religious jokes to this pile. Weight, appearance, intelligence – it’s open season for the punster.
The only exception to this rule is when the pain happens to you. When you get hurt, it’s not funny. It just hurts. Other people will still find your pain amusing, so be aware that even though it hurts, people are still laughing at you.
So be different. Laugh with someone today. Defend someone who is being laughed at. Comfort someone in pain instead of having a laugh at their expense. It might just even make God crack a big old smile!