In view of the recent visit by Russell Peters to Malaysia, and how many of my own friends, some Christian, who were so excited to listen to him, I decided to a quick lookup in the bible to see what it has to say about laughter.
It was interesting to find that the word laughter is mostly used in a negative sense, with idea of mocking others. I could not find a place where the word laughter was used as something beneficial to do. Interesting isn’t it? Go ahead and try it, do a bible search for the word “bible” and see all the references.
But it does make some sense when you think of it. Many times when we find ourselves laughing, its in jest of someone’s weakness, or mistakes, or just to put someone to shame.
I must say I’m guilty of lending my loud laughs to such talk myself.
Which begs us to ask ourselves, should we as Christians actually listen to (or even pay to listen) jokes that are vulgar, sexist, distasteful, and degrading, even if the humor is in the irony of a fact? Does this please the Lord who loved and died for the ones whom comedians are making fun of?
I think my honest answer would be no. But I will need help to stop myself from partaking in such talk and laughing at others.
So does this mean we can’t laugh? No. The bible does teach us to ‘rejoice always’ and be ‘joyful’, and that a merry heart is like medicine. Surely in the spirit of those things laughter is permitted. We should pay attention though, to what we are laughing for and what we are laughing at. If the source or object of laughter is someone else’s weakness or if there is pun intended, we should stop laughing, for the bible tells us to “bear one another’s weakness” and to love one another.
So the next time we get on YouTube or Ted.com, let’s give some thought about what humor we are enjoying.