When we go to the Bible, laughter is usually not a common response. But is it okay to laugh? Does God have a sense of humor? Is humor biblical?
Our relationship with the Holy God must start with a holy fear, with a reverence and recognition of our need for the blood of Christ to wash away our filth. No matter how close and comfortable we get with God, the fear of the Lord must never leave us. We must never try to base our access to God on anything but the righteous work of Jesus Christ. Our humility, honor, and our fear of the Lord truly are the foundation of a healthy attitude towards God. But none of these statements mean that humor is unbiblical.
Humor Is Biblical Because Laughter Is a Part of God’s Creation
As we grow with God, surely there will be times of laughter. Jesus sending Peter to get the coin out of the fishes mouth was funny (Matthew 17:24-27). The fact that John made sure everyone knew he outran Peter on their sprint to Jesus’ empty tomb had to be an example of some dry humor on John’s part to lovingly jab his old friend Peter (John 20:4-6).
It seems safe to say that God has a sense of humor because, as a general rule, I find that anything a baby under the age of 6 months does is completely natural in the purest sense. Eating, breathing, crying when in pain, pooping, peeing, and yes even laughing are completely good things that God made humans with the ability to do. Of course when we get older our eating can become gluttonous, our tears can become manipulative, and our laughing can be disrespectful; but in their purest form these natural abilities are beautiful gifts created by God, meant to be enjoyed with God, as seen when an innocent baby does them naturally.
I believe humor is biblical because God made so many natural things to be funny. Let’s just be honest, farting is funny. I’m sorry if that seems crude to you. But most of us laugh when someone lets loose. God didn’t have to make humans with the trait to toot, but this act has been providing humor in the homes of families since the beginning of time. Before my son could even talk, he would laugh when the ketchup bottle was running on low and it would make that humorous sound. Or when mom or dad had a little too much bean soup, he just couldn’t resist laughing. Laughing is clearly a gift designed by God.
Humor Helps Us Recharge and Remain Consistently Biblical
Declaring the gospel is not to be taken lightly. It is to be done with all seriousness (Titus 2:7 NIV); silliness and immaturity have no place for God’s soldiers. But God knows how weighty the work of the ministry can be and he knows that humor (that does not dishonor him) is sometimes a healthy way to cope, relax, and recoup for the missions ahead.
People can be shocked to watch the ER Doctor lose a patient and then be reading the comics an two hours later as he eats his lunch, but if those of us who serve in crazy situations on a regular basis live emotionally maxed out on level 10 all the time, we will become part of the casualty ourselves and lose our effectiveness in helping those in need.
When Jesus sent Peter to get the shekel from the fish’s mouth in Matthew 17, this chapter also contains the Transfiguration, Jesus healing a demon-possessed boy, and Jesus’ prediction of his fast approaching crucifixion. None of these events should be taken lightly, but Jesus knows it’s also okay to enjoy, with proper respect to God, the gifts God has given us, including biblically honoring humor.
Humor Is Biblical When Holiness and Humility Are Also Present
Although humor is biblical, our relationship must start and end with the fear of the Lord and it must be based on the holy sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We must never laugh at sin, when others are grieving, or in situations where it will be disrespectful. Most importantly, we must never laugh at God; but this does not mean we should never laugh with God. Sarah was rebuked for laughing at God (Genesis 18:12-14), but she was also blessed by God with laughter once his promise of a child in her old age actually came true (Genesis 21:5-7).
Holiness and humility must come before humor, but I believe God is the funniest person that has ever existed. I believe this because Jesus is the purest person and lived a perfect life, meaning he used all of God’s gifts to humanity as they were intended to be used – to the fullest. I believe God is the best at humor because he is the best at all good things he has made.
Biblically speaking, God would never allow humans to be better at humor because he desires all the glory, even that which comes from a good laugh. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but humor is still definitely biblical.