How Laughter Is An Essential Characteristic Of Human Nature And A Blessing From God

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Well before anything else, an infant, around the age of one month, and well before exhibiting any of the more impressive "godlike" characteristics we pride ourselves on possessing, first of all smiles. Shortly thereafter the child learns to laugh. Laughter is an essential characteristic of human nature and a blessing from God. This gift enables us to view situations from a fresh perspective on even the most serious issues, and can shift the matter into more manageable proportions. Laughter has the power to lift the spirit, and transform tears of grief into lenses through which to see life more clearly and brighten black horizons with the light of hope. Over the last several decades, Christians have lost sight of the proper usage of humor in daily life. In essence we 've neglected to be diligent and discerning in this crucial area of our lives. We laugh at innumerable affairs and have become culturally dissensitized to the extent that we don 't know what should make us laugh anymore-we just do it! In this essay we are going to explore the question: “What should make us laugh?”from the perspectives of Mark Twain, our culture, and God 's word; for the Christian theologian, humor is no mere laughing matter. In Mark Twain 's, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we follow the story of an American boy whose general character and experiences tend to be quite humorous. Many of the reasons for laughing at Tom Sawyer, originate from his unintentional fulfillment of a variety of stereotypes. Tom is a boy 's boy and does things that boys do and usually overdoes them. When we read the story, half of us laughs at the boy and the other half laughs at ourselves. The celebrated author, Mark Twain, grew up in a Protestant church, but was never a Christia... ... middle of paper ... ...er, and insane. One must, therefore, be able to clearly distinguish and discern what he should laugh about and why. Humor is a gift that is to be used, but not abused. Laughter is a reflection of God 's character and what we laugh about should reflect and measure up to His word. As the theologian Belden Lane so eloquently exclaims: "What I find myself longing for most is not a well-formulated theodicy. I wouldn’t be satisfied with answers to the problem of evil even if I had them. What I desire most of all is the assurance of God’s love, the echo of God’s laughter breaking over men in waves of playfulness that will not let me go. I am sometimes frightened when confronted by a God who must help me address the shortcomings and failures in my life, but then slowly the laughter begins to well, God’s arms open wide, and suddenly I know myself to have been loved all along.”

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