Not only the humor we make, but also the humor that amuses us, is important. A man may refrain from making fun of someone in the other’s presence, but will let loose his mockery in private to his wife or close friend. True, he will not create the havoc which would have been the case had he released his sarcasm in public. Nevertheless, what we laugh at, even in solitude, is significant. The German author Goethe said, “By nothing do men show their character more than by the things they laugh at.” The author of Ecclesiasticus put it this way, “A man’s grinning laughter shows the kind of man he is.” Another has put it, “What we laugh at is a window to our minds. Our jokes reveal our inner nature better than our set speeches. If you are amused by an off-color story, it points up the impurity of your heart. If you laugh at another’s serious accident, it shows cruelty deep within. If you overly indulge in caustic wit, it may indicate envy of the person against which your barbs are directed, and even beyond that, basic insecurity. If you are extremely addicted to punning, a dyed-in-the-wool punster, your constant conflicting play on words may result from your own conflicting feelings within. If you make light of holy subjects, it reveals profanity inside. Perhaps the words of Jesus could be paraphrased, admittedly giving only a partial explanation of the text, “By thy humor shalt thou he justified, and by thy humor shalt thou be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). If only one person in the world on only one occasion was guilty of just one bit of offside humor, he would still need the blood of Jesus Christ for cleansing. The choice of entertainment via radio, TV and literature, on the part of many, falls short of Christian grace, even short of the standard of enlightened nature. To avoid this blemish of personal piety we need to know when to laugh and when not to. Humor leaps outside its legitimate sphere when it trespasses on the suggestive, the sarcastic, the silly and the sacrilegious.

source: Serve Him With Mirth tags: Character, Humor, Entertainment