As children, we are taught the difference between laughing “at” somebody and “with” somebody. One signifies joyful companionship, the other is a sign of ridicule. Laughter, when misused, divides and injures. To laugh at God seems terribly close to Jesus’ warning about blaspheming the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 12:31).
I think of modern Christians as being descended from a long line of believers who included King David, who danced nearly naked down the street to the rhythms of the holy music he had written himself. He was dancing with joy because the Ark of the Covenant, carrying the Ten Commandments, had returned. His was joy at God’s word.
I think of Jesus himself, who spent so much time with common folk at the table — a place of joy and spirited talk — that his enemies said, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” This was literally a case of people laughing at Jesus and refusing to laugh alongside him. His was joy with brothers and sisters.
I think of that long line of “fools for Christ,” those saints who rejected the rules of the world. They lived joyfully “in the world” while serenely enduring the mocking laughter of those whose lives were “of the world.” Theirs was joy despite suffering.
I think of the promise of salvation and laugh. Mine is the joy of life in Christ.
Laughter, healing for the soul
A quick search on the benefits of humor will reveal that laughter, among other things, is helpful for relieving stress and interpersonal tensions. It also brings relaxation to the body and it has an effect on the endorphins. Of course this is not a complete list of benefits — these are only samples of God’s wisdom. That is, how he has ordained healing in laughter. How amazing!
I heard a comedian once say that “church is not funny, but the people in the church will crack you up!” I believe this idea is also true of the Holy Scriptures. Some of the decisions made by biblical characters are a riot! Take time to read Genesis 38: Not only will you read about Tamar’s suffering but you will see her resolve for justice. Take a look at 1 Samuel 21: David fears for his life and is brought before a king. How does he escape? By faking insanity! How funny is that? Mark 14 tells of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest — as the soldiers are taking Jesus away, one of them reaches out to grab hold of “a young man,” who is only wearing a linen sheet. In his struggle to get away, “he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.”
Through wisdom, God has provided for us healing even in laughter.
Can we laugh at God? I am not sure that I completely understand that question.