Humor, we use it daily. It's so common I'd expect to hear a lot about it in Christian messages. Strangely enough, I don't. People think of humor as make believe. They reason they're not actually doing what they're saying, so no one's hurt. What's the scripture say?

Reading through the New Testament and Proverbs, I came up with nine categories relating to humor. Following this outline, let's look from the biblical view. Actually reading the abundance of references is very important for this study. Herein lies the power and conviction. May God bless this article to you.
'Sorrow Before Joy' or 'Laughter Before Heaviness' - Take Your Pick
In this world, people give the appearance of joy through laughter. A mask if you will:
13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.    
Proverbs 14:13
Many seek the joy of laughter and silly behavior (mirth). That's why sitcoms are so popular. People seek this to cover burdens of sin and grief in their lives, but as Solomon said in effect, 'It's mad and what good is it?':

1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
     Ecclesiastes 2:1,2

Next we find a rather bizarre statement, or so it seems at first. We see the wise mourning and the fools are jokers. The nature of man comes to the front:

3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.    
Ecclesiastes 7:3,4

The previous verse leaves us with questions, rather than answers. How does a sad countenance make the heart better? The answers to this can be seen in James:

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.    
James 4:7-9
This world's laughter comes from carelessness. People don't take enough time preparing for the day of reckoning. The attitude seems to be, 'Play now and bother with that later.' This comes from not submitting to God, and following the leisure of the devil. This scripture calls for us to approach God, repent, purify ourselves. Purity must come before humor. If humor doesn't have purity, the devil loves it.

We find the spiritual leaders who are to be examples, were sober, hospitable, not slanderers, grave. Humor that puts down others: blacks, Polish, lawyers, etc., can that be called hospitable towards the person or persons thus smeared? If you were a black person and heard Jesus telling a black joke to his disciples, would you care to hear what He would have to say to you? Could you believe His love for you is sincere? From the description of spiritual leaders, don't get the idea they don't laugh. Joy would be foremost in their lives. The point is that purity and love for others always governs their behavior. Humor doesn't go unguided by these principals. We often hear the great evil is 'not lightening up enough'. What people, who don't want to be pure and loving, mean, is they don't want any restraints on humor. They insult those who do as if the grave and sober individual is dishonoring to God. 1 Timothy 3:2,11 tells us the opposite:

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.    
1 Timothy 3:2,11

The Flavor Of Some Of That
'Laughter Before Heaviness'

18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?    
Proverbs 26:18,19

We see the person who passes off wicked behavior with the expression, 'Can't you take a joke?' I've seen someone maliciously slander then when confronted reply, 'I was just joking'.

23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
    Proverbs 10:23
The wicked here are like those mentioned in the verses of Proverbs 26:18,19. He doesn't watch for purity and act in love. The wise can see the evil heart that's manifested in the humor of the wicked. A wicked heart will naturally manifest itself in unrestrained jesting.
The foul humor of the wicked comes from wicked imaginations. With this in mind read the following:

16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,    
Proverbs 6:16-18
This is classified with pride, lying and murder. The expression, 'It's just a joke, we didn't really do it,' doesn't wash with God. As Jesus said about adultery, 'whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' This is the same. Where's our delight? Do we joke about cruelties and insults? They come from a heart void of love which is cold toward purity.

This World Naturally Filthy

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.    
Ephesians 2:2,3
This world follows a natural course, like a river its stream bed. It is Satanic. It will be seen in conversation and humor. It follows the stream bed of fleshly lusts and filthy cravings. The course is into the wrath of God.

We find worldly humor at Christ's crucifixion:

28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.          
 Matthew 27:28-31 (Mark 15:16-20)

They mocked Him. To them it was a joke. I've seen similar humor in the church. In a book of cartoon illustrations for church bulletins, cartoon after cartoon put down pastors, ushers, and the church 'in jest'. Remember, Jesus said that whatsoever ye do to the least of these my brethren, ye do it to me. In worldly cartoons we see outright sacrilege in many of their illustrations. One said, 'God as a child' and showed Him as a little child in a laboratory doing something. God is to be approached with reverence and respect, not course familiarity.

10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.    
Matthew 15:10,11,16-20

Jesus identified the source of defilement. Humor comes from our heart as well as expresses its delights. With these verses we can see the cry, 'Well it was just a joke,' as if jokes really don't harm, is a crummy cover up. We wouldn't say it if our hearts didn't delight in it, and we wouldn't enjoy it if our hearts yearned for righteousness.

Jesus spoke very powerfully to the issue of jokes not really mattering:

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.    
Matthew 12:34-37
Foul humor comes from a viper's mouth. Is your humor good or evil treasure? This shows the heart. What's more, God will require a reckoning for what comes from our mouths. Those words in humor will stand for us or against us.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.    
Hebrews 4:12

Our thoughts and intents are meant to be examined and corrected. By looking at our humor, in the light of God's word, we can discern our true state, and do something about it.

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
    Luke 6:31,36,44-45
What is your humor like? It manifests the true state of your heart. It only gives what it contains. When the Berlin Wall was standing, some from the Communist side dumped a load of garbage over the wall into the free side. The free side retaliated by returning a nicely stacked pile of food goods, bread, milk, etc. with a note on top saying, 'Each gives what he has.' The reply was a real reproof. It contains a lot of truth and our pure responses put to shame the ugly humor of the world.

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26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.    
Proverbs 15:26
This world's humor is contemptible before God. Pleasant humor is pure in every way.

This World's Humor Should Naturally Vex
We've looked at the world's naturally filthy humor. Let's look at an enlightening verse regarding the righteous:

7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:    
2 Peter 2:7
We see Lot was vexed. Vexed is ‘annoyed' and ‘grieved'. Filthy conversation would include humor. This vexing is the result of wicked delights. The things which delight the wicked should be a grief to someone who loves God.

Heed the warning of corrupting influence:

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.    
1 Corinthians 15:33
At first the corrupt humor may revolt us, but given enough exposure we become callused. Eventually we may even delight in it. We see wicked humor isn't only something we should detest, but something we should flee.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.        
Psalm 19:14
Does your heart plead to God to control your humor? He is the strength to correct and the deliverer from improper and evil delights.

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6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.    
Matthew 5:6-8
If we desire to have righteous delights, he will transform us. Love, compassion and purity will stamp our humor.

Merry Heart A Feast
The hearts of those who love God aren't sour pusses. The Christian has a heart that has certain delights:

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
     Psalm 1:2
Delight is joyfulness and happiness. The world won't understand delight in God's Word. To them it will seem fanatical and strange. The Psalmist said the righteous delighted continually, day and night in God's Word.

15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.   
 Proverbs 15:15

In this we see the merry heart. For the righteous, a merry heart would be in God's Word, in His ways.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.     Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34

This merry heart, from Proverbs 15:15, is in a state of continual pleasure, as shown in these verses. This explains why God's Word delights the righteous. For those delighting in worldly ways, their treasure lies there. Everyone delights in their treasures and pursues them, God and His ways or the world and its ways. For the Christian there is a feast. For the world another feast (outlined in the first section).
Humor With Discretion
Now, let's look at a major governing word - discretion. The act of simply thinking before we act or speak and steering always towards purity:

10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:    
Proverbs 2:10-11
Here we see discretion is in the good company of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. If you have these three, you will be discrete. If you're not discrete, then wisdom went packing, knowledge never took lodge and there's no understanding.
We're called to prove all things:

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;  13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.  16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.  18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
    Romans 12:2,9,10,13,14,16,18

15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.  21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.   
 1 Thess. 5:15,21,22

We see our behavior's not to be without discerning restraints. We should govern ourselves with a level head. Evil humor, evil suggestions, evil insinuations should be abhorred. Discretion would eliminate all the evil in our humor. Our humor should never violate a loving concern for others. It should show hospitality, even to those who persecute you. It should display the pursuit of peaceful coexistence with all men.
Is your humor graceful? Does it show the character of our Savior, whom we represent?

5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.    
Colossians 4:5,6

If our humor detracts from the Gospel message, it's in violation of this verse. We're not called to be humorless, but we're called to first exercise discretion.

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.    
Matthew 5:14,16

Our humor casts a certain colored light. All will notice it, whether good or bad. We're to be a hue of light that testifies good things. Whatever way we go, good humor or bad, it reflects on the Father.

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1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.      
1 Peter 2:1,9,17
The flavor of these verses is truly delicate. Anything that even smacks of an evil heart should not issue from us. Our humor, or maybe lack of appreciation of some other's humor will make us peculiar in the world's eyes. Our humor should honor others, not dishonor them. It should be in reverence to God and honor the positions of authority.

Purity In Speech Will Always Prevail
Can you say your jokes and choice of humor are righteous? The servants of God should be able to say yes:

8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.    
Proverbs 8:8

Here we have a cousin of ‘discrete' the word, ‘diligence':
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.    
Proverbs 4:23-27

Carefully noting our hearts inclinations, is of primary importance. This directly fingers what comes from our mouth. Froward (evil) and perverse humor are herein prohibited. Diligently watch our path, seeing we stay on the straight and narrow. Consider what you say or seek after, before you make a move.

Paul gave some pretty powerful punches:

2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.    
Titus 2:2,12,14

Sober, grave, temperate: these show the serious business of keeping strict guard of our conduct. It's better to never joke yet be pure, than to joke and not be. We will be peculiar to the world. Don't be surprised. If the world doesn't see you as peculiar, know something's wrong.

7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.    
1 Thessalonians 4:7

Is our humor holy? Notice these holy, holy, holies:

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:    
1 Peter 1:13-17

As He is holy, so should that which comes from our mouths. This passage nails conversation. Sobriety is called for and carefully guiding our behavior. We also see fear. This is important to sobriety. This gives us at least one good motive to pursue holiness - God will judge us for our too lose a tongue and too free a laugh.

Look at another case of diligence:
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.   
 2 Peter 3:11-14

Diligent to have our conversation without spot and blameless. The sojourning in fear is given good reason. This world and its things, its laughter and merriment, will be destroyed, then what of it? If we don't delight in righteousness now, after the day of God, we won't enjoy what's left. If what remains isn't to our taste, what makes us think we'll be to His? Will we be found of Him in peace? This means, 'will He have to do violence to us too, as He did to the rest of the heavens?' or will we be free of judgment, without spot and blameless?

3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.    
1 John 3:3

True Christians purify themselves after the imitation of the Master. If we don't purify ourselves, we're not becoming like Him. What does our humor testify? If we fall short in this, don't despair. Divine purity, has been supplied for us:

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.    
2 Peter 1:4-7

We can have the right taste in humor. We can grow if we choose and are diligent for Christlikeness. These verses outline what's expected, called for, nay, I say demanded of the Christian. If we're Christians, we can't fail to care and pooh pooh the idea of a little more sobriety.

1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
     2 Corinthians 7:1

This cleansing action is UP TO US. The motivation - the fear of God. Can you say you have this fear of God?
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17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.    
James 3:17,18

The nature of a pure humor is so smooth. Our humor should hallmark peace. Violent humor is diametrically opposite the nature of wise humor.

Love & Kindness Characterize The Christian
The following verses show love and kindness should characterize our lives:

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
    1 Corinthians 13:4

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
    Proverbs 31:26

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:    
James 2:8

This reflects in humor. It eliminates unloving, unkind humor such as mockery, racial, sexual, put downs and irreverent.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.    
Luke 6:35

Love and kindness should extend to our enemies. God extends such to evil people, which included us before becoming His servants. Love and kindness in humor, not the butt of jokes.

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,    
Ephesians 3:17
Rooted and grounded, shows a very firm foundation. Everything built on it is thereby supported through motivations of love.

8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;     Titus 1:8
12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:    
1 Thessalonians 3:12

We're to strive to grow in our ability to love. If we put down others in humor, we defeat the pursuit of love. The thought of putting down another only establishes hate and disrespect for others.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 
   Colossians 3:12-14

Out of love comes mercy. Mercy spares. Kindness seeks to add to another's comfort and good. Humility of mind doesn't consider others derisively.

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.    
1 Timothy 2:1-4
If you pray out of love for all people, you can't put them down in humor or enjoy such humor. To pray is to earnestly desire God's touch for such people. To put down is to not care about that person or people.

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;    
2 Timothy 2:22,24,25

This hits sexual humor right off, but goes on to purity, gentleness and meekness. They show we should always be seeking to help others and restore them to God.

15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
    Philippians 2:15

Our humor must be blameless (can all ears hear it?) and harmless (can it edify all or not?). Our humor must be beyond rebuke, for we're lights to the unredeemed.

8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.    
1 Peter 3:8-12
This passage gives complete guidance in our humor. Love towards all the brethren and blessing to our enemies. Not evil ever, at all times peaceful.

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;   15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:   17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:    
Ephesians 4:1,2,15,17,18

Our humor should not be vain like the world's. In Christ, our understanding isn't darkened. In Him we're not blind. Our heart can hear the higher calling, if we're surrendered to Him.

Scriptural Principals That Hit On Humor

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.    
Philippians 4:8
Here we have a list to evaluate by:
True/Honest: Does it cause a false opinion?
Just: Is it according to ALL fairness?
Pure: Is it righteous/holy?
Lovely: Is it beautiful in its illustration?
Good Report: Is it clear of possible criticisms?
Praiseworthy: Does it cause the hearer to be edified?

31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.    
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
All our humor should reflect a glory upon Jesus Christ. Its character should represent His pure and loving nature. It should offend no one!

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.    
Colossians 3:17
Our humor, whether speech or practical jokes, is to be done in Jesus' name. It should be something we could see Him saying or doing.

17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.    
Zechariah 8:17

The Lord hates any humor that comes from imagining evil towards anybody.

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.    
Colossians 3:1-8
As Christians, we need to purposely set our course to ALWAYS desire heavenly things to come from us. We find a list here of the things of the world we're to resist. They hit sexual uncleanness, immoral affections, greed, anger, ill will, filthy language and anything evil we communicate.

1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.   
Titus 3:1-8

In many passages we see the same. The picture is so clear. One wonders how anyone who reads the scripture would be ignorant of the standards they call for in humor. This passage starts off with subjection to authorities. This rules out dishonorable political humor. Yes, most politicians appear to be corrupt, but bear in mind that Paul wrote this passage in direct reference to the Roman Empire. It was more base than our present political system in America. Paul still said in verse 2 to speak no evil of them. He calls us to remember that we were once like them, but only by God's mercy are we any different now. He calls us to be careful about this matter, not casual.

4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,   6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
     2 Corinthians 6:4,6

As servants of God, every Christian has some form of ministry. In our living, our conduct has to be above reproach. Our humor must be pure, follow our biblical understanding, patient towards all, kind and based in genuine love.

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.    
1 Timothy 4:12
When we look at the top items that surface, we find words and conversation taking preeminence. They're one of the clearest declarations of what we believe and live for.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.    
1 Timothy 6:11

The call for fleeing unrighteous ways. Don't meander away, but run!

27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;    
Philippians 1:27
Is your humor becoming of the Gospel?

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 
   Matthew 5:43,44
Could you say your humor is blessing or cursing your enemies? Your enemies might be other nationalities, politicians, lawyers or neighbors.

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.    
Luke 6:27,28
Treat your enemies good and bless them.

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.   
Deuteronomy 6:6,7
I've included this passage because it shows the relentless way in which we're to pursue the things of God. Our humor needs to be observed and directed continually to fit the pattern of those who have their hearts in the Bible 24 hours a day. 

2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.    
Ephesians 5:2-4,8-21
In verse 4 we see foolish talking and jesting added to the list in verse 3 that says to NOT ONCE be named among Christians. The filthiness of verse 4 is expanded in the various ways it's expressed that many tend to overlook. Our humor has to be corrected as well as our direct actions. That old humor was the way of darkness. We're called to carefully examine, verse 10, our humor. Our humor should show a heart of praise and thanksgiving to God. All our conversation should bear this quality. This is outflowing of a joyful heart. Joy is a must. Foul humor has laughter, but not joy. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.    29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.    
Ephesians 4:22-25,29-32
Our humor can't be corrupt. It must be righteous and holy. It must edify, minister grace and not grieve God. It should never exhibit bitterness, anger, violence or hate.

Where the rubber hits the road!
Now we've looked at scriptural directions and warnings, let's look at how this hits our 'Christian' society.

I've heard joking on the Christian radio station that was off-color, more than once. (I've heard many Christians do the same.) It was what a Christian radio station calls their 'Friday Funnies'. They usually replayed an excerpt from one of the ministry broadcasts from the past week. The pastor was preaching to his church and giving the news story illustration of someone's stupidity. This worker didn't use his common sense when removing a load of bricks from the roof of this tall building and was seriously hurt in the process. Well, as he told the story, I was appalled. I couldn't help but feel for the pain the man must have suffered, broken bones and all. The pastor and the congregation were going wild with laughter. They weren't gripped with compassion, but hysterics. Their laughing was sick! What was more nauseating to me, was that not only did the original pastor think it was great along with his congregation, but the DJ at the radio station chose it to play for the 'Friday Funnies'. A real topper.

Another 'Christian' DJ made a joke about bribing the workman to not fix the transmitter until after his shift, so he could enjoy the time off. We hear this stuff and think nothing of it, but we shouldn't. If it's shameful, how can a representative of Jesus pretend to do that which He hates? Don't pretend to do things you morally shouldn't do anyway.
We need to consider why we laugh at certain things. What makes a joke a joke? We often laugh at something because the action is ludicrous to the expected response. A gross under- or over-statement for example. An extreme example.

Now what happens if someone tells you a joke and it's not necessarily good (meaning wholesome), yet you find the situation comical? You laugh. Our laugh reflex is triggered by oddity, but is not necessarily discerning in morality. Does this laugh mean you now delight in the unseemly? Not necessarily, but it does indicate you need to remove yourself from the environment. To laugh at such, will create the lack of care to want to discern good from evil and take a stand for what's right.

Humor is an extension of our choice of entertainment. What relaxes us versus what vexes us. (For an in depth study of entertainment see Entertainment- A Biblical Perspective.)

What about the typical Laurel & Hardy comedy? In Laurel and Hardy we see extremes. Laurel kicks a stove, the thing blows up and he and everything fly to the moon. In some cartoons you have the 'bad guy' always trying to destroy the 'good guy', and they backfire. You may think these are similar to the Laurel and Hardy. I see a big difference. In the cartoon you have a hate motive. In the cartoon there is a masochistic attitude. In the Laurel and Hardy shows, there's a love for each other that always overrides any misunderstandings or momentary spats. Certain cartoons can be noted for having hate relationships for their comedy: they're not friends, never will be and always the one seeks to destroy the other. On the other hand, we have the Hannah Barberra cartoon types that work on a better basis. Yogi Bear for example. He seeks to get picnic baskets as a bear might that's accustomed to human food. He's not malicious or violent, but struggles with the temptation to get the food. He is chastened by Boo-boo and the ranger. We laughed, not at the theft he attempts, but at the results of his misbehavior, which aren't sadistic or cruel. In fact we get the feeling that Yogi, Boo-boo and the ranger are all members of the same family. There is love there. Laurel and Hardy, there's love there too.

Now most think a drunk person is pretty silly looking and like to mimic their comical behavior. The slurred speech may sometimes appear comical because it is silly. To laugh at the behavior is not taking pleasure in the intoxication, in fact, that grieves us. We find the behavior funny because it's ludicrous to standard normal behavior. We laughed at the attempts to do something simple, but with utter failure. If we mimic this behavior, is it wrong? It all depends on the intent. If our mimicry enforces approval of intoxication, then obviously yes. If we're just clowning around with no evil direction in this clowning, then no. An example can be found in an episode of 'I Love Lucy'. Lucy was filming a commercial for some product that had alcohol in it. They kept reshooting the commercial and she gets plastered by accident. Her slurred speech and behavior are comical, but no evil intent or indication is made.

Another way we express ourselves is through overstatement. For example: we tell of how someone that's accustomed to some evil behavior does something and we exaggerate the deed and the end result. We may do this to make the stupidity of the action abundantly obvious. This is humorous because of the extension beyond normality and helps make the point to direct others to proper behavior. This type of humor, within reason, is perfectly fine because of goals and appropriate discernment.

I couldn't possibly list all of the comic examples and analyze them. What we need to do is follow the scriptural directions covered and discern the situations as we face them. If we seek righteousness with our whole heart, we won't take delight in that which is wicked.

I found something that's worth noting. In the time of Christ, a man by the name of Publius Lentulus sent a letter to the Roman Senate stating his view of the Lord Jesus, as he observed Him. We still have this report. It's certainly not scripture, but bears paying attention to. He describes the appearance of Jesus and this reflects on humor. Here is the pertinent portion of the report:

'his look innocent and mature; his eyes gray, quick and clear. In reproving, he is terrible; in admonishing, courteous and fair-spoken; pleasant in conversation, mixes with gravity. It cannot be remembered that any have seen him laugh, but many have seen him weep; .....'

The tenor of the Gospels also bears this out. The seriousness of man's condition and the urgency of the need, can certainly account for this. Is our heart hot or cold to this need? Unfortunately, our humor seems top priority, the cause of Christ dwindles somewhere down the list. It doesn't have to stay this way.

The choice is up to you.

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Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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