It’s funny because it’s true. We laugh at ourselves presented in the actions of another, realizing our need for a Savior, for friends and support, and for grace and forgiveness, and realizing that we all have these needs. No pride, only humility, as we all have messed up our lives and others lives willfully and unintentionally, and so we are equal before a perfect Lord, who loves us anyway. Because He smiles at us in our imperfect lives, we can smile at each other and at ourselves, and we can have joy even in our trials, because His love is stronger than our mistakes.
This is the basis for what we call “humor”. Think it through. It wouldn’t be funny to watch the man fall off the ladder, or the kid land on the railing, or the dog do a back flip he wasn’t expecting without the assurance of good medical care, loving relationships, affordable repairs, and a host of other ways to fix the problem we laugh at. If our problems are unfixable, then there is no reason to laugh at how we acquired them; all is dispair and hopelessness…unless rescue is truer than imprisonment.
The humor of present-day America tends this way. We see some slap-stick, much sarcasm, and some cleverness, but the prevailing mood is a lonely, gloomy one. We laugh only because we have other people around us, but we know they aren’t completely dependable. We feel a tension beneath all the laughter because, without a loving, powerful God to help us, we know we have only ourselves to depend on, and that makes us desperate. So desperate, in fact, that we invented a device to summon our laughter in spite of our mood – the laughtrack. Laughter doesn’t bubble up inside of us on its own because we see life as ultimately tragic, so we have to pretend that life is funny, which is only an attempt at distraction.
This is why true joy, deep laughter, especially in the midst of circumstancial tragedy, is a light to be found only among Christ-followers. We can laugh because we know the pain is not the end. We can chuckle at ourselves because we know we all sin, that we all deserve God’s derision, and that He lovingly forgives us and helps us smile again. Forgiveness and humility are the gates through which the greatest freedom to laugh can be found. Only through Christ can these gates be unlocked. All other efforts end in dispair.
Therefore, as Christ-followers, we should be ever-ready to present the Gospel by our laughter at ourselves and our own mistakes. We will seem ludicrously vulnerable to the world, and prove to be anything but. We will be joyful, full of the laugh of victory, because our God will reign over all, He has overcome the world, and He lives in us. Be of good cheer. Yuk it up. Show the world what laughter is really all about.