February 16, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
I know, I know---"life is serious business." If I hear that one more time, I think I'll gag. I fully realize that too much humor can become offensive. I recognize that it can be taken to such an extreme that it is inappropriate. But doesn't it seem we have a long way to go before we are guilty of that problem? The final result of a joyless existence is sad---a superhigh-level intensity, borderline neurotic anxiety, an absence of just plain fun in one's work, a lack of relaxation, and the tendency to take ourselves much too seriously. We need to lighten up! Yes, spirituality and fun do go well together.
Scripture speaks directly to this issue, you know---especially the Proverbs: "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken" (Prov. 15:13).
Amazing how that proverb goes right to the heart of the problem (no pun intended). We're not talking about a person's face here as much as we are about the heart. Internal joy goes public. We can't hide it. The face takes its cue from an inside signal.
A well-developed sense of humor reveals a well-balanced personality. Maladjusted people show a far greater tendency to miss the point in a funny remark. They take jokes personally. They take things that are meant to be enjoyable much too seriously. The ability to get a laugh out of everyday situations is a safety valve. It rids us of tensions and worries that could otherwise damage our health.
You think I'm exaggerating the benefits? If so, maybe you've forgotten another proverb: "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones" (Prov. 17:22). Isn't that eloquent? Literally, it says, "A joyful heart causes healing." What is it that brings healing to the emotions, healing to the soul? A joyful heart. And when the heart is right, a joyful countenance accompanies it!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.