Right now I’m thinking hard and I cannot come up with a single person I know who doesn’t like to laugh. Even the most stern-faced stoics I know enjoy a good chuckle every now and then. My seven month-old daughter loves to laugh and so does my 81 year-old Grandmother. I’ve been to the Ukraine on a mission trip where I found people who live in a different culture and speak a different language, but were nonetheless eager to share laughter with me. Laughter transcends personality type, age, culture, and language. In this sense, laughter knows no boundaries.
But while all of humanity shares the trait of laughter, I think that Christians share laughter together in a different way. In Psalm 126:1-2 we read these words in response to Israel’s release from captivity: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.” In this text, Israel has been brought back from exile to their home and because of God’s grace and mercy in granting this to them, they are freed up to laugh a burden-less, hope-filled laughter like they had not known in captivity.
Christians too should laugh like this, but the laughter should be even more free and intense. Why? Because, while Israel had received freedom in this life to return to their home in this life, we have experienced a freedom from sin that has resulted in us being saved from its power and penalty to live in anticipation of our perfect home where we will live with our perfect Savior. Our freedom extends beyond this life to the next, so we should be the people in this world who laugh the most – laughing not nervously, insanely, derisively, madly, timidly, crudely, unwholesomely, hesitantly, or as an escape from sin and its effects, but joyfully, worshipfully, with a consideration of others and a center focus on the gospel.
C.J. Mahaney, in a wonderful sermon titled, “Don’t Waste Your Humor”, concludes with these words, “So, did you hear the one about the Father who sent his only Son, his only begotten Son, and crushed him on the cross with his full, furious, righteous wrath… against our sin… on the cross… so that sinners like you and me could be forgiven and reconciled and justified and adopted?”