April 30, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
If I had two words of advice to give to people today, those words would be, "Lighten up!" Teenagers only need one word to say the same thing, "Chill!"
One of the sad byproducts of an uptight lifestyle is the absence of fun and laughter. Unfortunately, we who are more conservative in our theology, believing that the Bible really is God's Word, tend to be far too serious about everything. While we're intense about growing deeper in our walk with Christ and sincere about applying the truths of Holy Scripture to our lives (and there's everything right about both!), without realizing it, we slowly begin to lose our sense of humor.
It's like, if you are really committed to spiritual things, you don't have time to have fun anymore. Frankly, the guy who came up with that kind of nonsense should have been shot at sunrise while nobody was looking.
A great sense of humor is not only enjoyable for others to be around, it's downright healthy. As Solomon once wrote, "A joyful heart is good medicine, / But a broken spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22).
The statement in Hebrew is even more vivid. It reads, literally, "a joyful heart causes good healing." In other words, there are physical, mental, and emotional benefits to relaxing, for leaving room in our lives for fun and laughter. How easy it is to forget that! When we do, our faces tighten up, our nerves get tense, and we take too much of life too seriously. As one of my mentors used to say with a twinkle in his eye, "You can be a fundamentalist, but you don't have to look like it!" One very funny lady once suggested that when we start looking like that photo on our passport, we need to stop traveling. A popular and clever comedian of yesteryear, the late Fred Allen, used to say that it was bad to suppress your laughter, because when you do, it goes back down and spreads to your hips.
Hey... take a look in the mirror. You'll be able to see right away if you've begun to suppress your laughter!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.