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
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?':
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?
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.
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.
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
The Flavor Of Some Of That
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?
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This world's humor is contemptible before God. Pleasant humor is pure
in every way.
This World's Humor Should
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
10 When wisdom entereth
into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant
unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall
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.
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.
We see our behavior's not to be without discerning
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Here we have a cousin of ‘discrete' the word,
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.
Carefully noting our hearts inclinations, is of
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
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
7 For God hath not called
us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
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:
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.
Diligent to have our conversation without spot and
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.
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.
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.
The nature of a pure humor is so smooth. Our humor
peace. Violent humor is diametrically opposite the nature of wise humor.
Love & Kindness
Characterize The Christian
verses show love and kindness should characterize our
4 Charity suffereth long,
and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not
1 Corinthians 13:4
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of
8 If ye fulfil the
royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself, ye do well:
This reflects in humor. It eliminates unloving, unkind humor such as
mockery, racial, sexual, put downs and irreverent.
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.
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,
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;
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:
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
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.
Out of love comes mercy. Mercy spares. Kindness seeks to add to
another's comfort and good. Humility of mind doesn't consider others
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.
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
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
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
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.
This passage gives complete guidance in our humor. Love towards all the
brethren and blessing to our enemies. Not evil ever, at all times
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:
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.
Here we have a list to
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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;
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;
Could you say your humor is blessing or cursing your enemies? Your
enemies might be other nationalities, politicians, lawyers or
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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