I’m not sure whether the expression “You’ve got to laugh” originates from the north of England or is more widespread, but it’s often used when faced with a trying situation and means, “not sure what to do about this, but it helps to see the funny side!” In other words, a sense of humour can lighten things and help us see a situation in a right perspective.
My wife says jokingly, that one of the inscriptions on her gravestone will be “He made me laugh!” Surprising, as one of our small granddaughters once said that I have a sad face, but on the other hand friends have said they like my smile! It seems then, that lurking somewhere in the melancholic/sanguine mix of my temperament, is a gift to make others laugh?
So I give thanks for this, but at the same time I am only too aware of the pitfalls and have to watch out for the ‘shadow’ side. I know that at times, in the flow of conversation, I am prone to laughing in the wrong place or injecting a quick quip inappropriately.
So we have to be on our guard:
Always coming out with a witty remark is a gift, but used in the wrong way can put us ‘centre stage’ in control of the conversation. It’s tantamount to saying ‘look at me!’ Perhaps the North American way of spelling ‘humor’ with only one ‘u’ is the right one? It maintains the right balance with ‘you’ no more important that the rest? On some television satirical programmes, witty remarks can be at someone else’s expense, even attacking. If we are tempted to do this, it can be hurtful and helps no one, least of all ourselves..
Why do we do this. One answer could be that we may want to keep the conversation superficial, in order to the risk of displaying our own inner pain and weakness that may be lurking just below the surface. Do we do this with God I wonder?
Following Jesus is a serious business but it helps not to take ourselves too seriously. I’m sure Jesus often had a smile. But perhaps we should be aware and think before we speak. The tongue can be used for bestowing great blessings or otherwise!
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” James 3:5 New International Version