Saturday, May 4, 2013

When is humor not funny?

10:02 p.m. Today's project is to consider God's gift of humor.

A merry heart does good like a medicine,  Proverbs 17:22 says, and that is so true, whether we laugh at a baby's antics or a friend slips in a quick one-liner, like my friend Mary Lou did yesterday while we were at a fun automotive themed restaurant, The Pit Stop,on Highway 76 in Oceanside,  for lunch.

We had been discussing our lunch selections while standing under a huge mounted traffic light. We were very indecisive when the counter girl asked for our order. "We're on the Yellow," she quipped. I burst out laughing and agreed. So we stepped back for further discussion before ordering our delicious meal..

Wisecracks like the one made by my friend are hilarious and harmless, and add to the fellowship of the day. But what about snide put-downs and severe exaggerations about an intended target while in the company of others? Comments embarrassing that person, taking them by surprise in the midst of a pleasant conversation, make it hard to respond with the facts of the case without drawing even more attention to the rudeness of the speaker. 

Of course, if confronted later, the speaker maintains an innocent posture, and may even apologize and receive forgiveness--but it's actually too late, because words cannot be taken back. Is this godly humor, or even good societal, normative conversation for a believer? Let's hear directly from the Word of God.

  • Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6)
  • Brothers, do not slander one another...There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11, 12)
  • But He gives us more grace. That is why the  Scripture says, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 3:17)
  • The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:6-7 ).
I would certainly not try to claim that I have every or even half of the above-mentioned qualities in my speech consistently. But the Lord has shown me to be calm and cheerful with others, while not minimizing their illnesses or losses. And as He is so gracious, God has given me the Holy Spirit to take a step back  with me, and review areas of correction needed, while I continue moving forward into the life He is designing for me now. 

The same Holy Spirit is ready to refill and recharge your mind and change your attitude toward others. Let James 3:18 be said of us!

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.


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