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Jim Watkins

I led a great small group at The River last week on a biblical look at humor. It sums up why what we do here, so here are my notes:

1. Humor can be an expression of joy and hope

And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6).

He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy (Job 8:21).

We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them” (Psalm 126:2).

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength (Proverbs 17:22).

Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns [following the Babylonian captivity], there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and laughter (Jeremiah 33:10-11).

2. Humor can be a cover-up for grief and conviction

Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains (Proverbs 14:13).

Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us (Ecclesiastes 7:3).

Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy (James 4:9).

3. Humor can lift up or tear down

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29).

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you (Ephesians 5:4a).

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). [Salt can also be translated “wit.”]

Let’s make sure our humor is lifting up God and others.

Note For more on humor: Laughing matters and Writing with Banana Peels.

For more hope and humor, visit jameswatkins.com.