Daily Devotional

For Jan 27, 2015 ← Return

A Time to Laugh

Average reading time is about 2 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  The world record for someone continuously laughing is held by Belachew Girma from Ethiopia. He laughed without taking a break for three hours and six minutes.

Ethiopia is often not a country filled with lots of laughter and smiles. It has been plagued by drought and poverty. Belachew suffered from his own disasters as well. He was a drug addict and an alcoholic. His life spiraled downward until he was ready to commit suicide. What turned him around was finding a Bible and also a book that encouraged laughter as a form of therapy. Mr. Girma used to laugh while under the influence of drugs. But now his infectious chuckling from joy has so changed his life that he has actually opened Girma’s School of Laughter to teach others how to laugh.

Did you know there are websites that teach you how to fake a laugh? First you are supposed to get into the spirit by reading some jokes. Then you practice laughing, whether you feel like it or not. You can cover your mouth, which is supposed to help. And, of course, if you are caught laughing when you don’t really mean it, you should just change the subject.

Why do people laugh when they don’t really mean it? It’s probably because we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. If someone tells a joke and you don’t think it’s funny, you might laugh just to be polite. What’s sad is how well it works. Many people think they’re funny or smart when the truth is that others are simply not honest about what they are thinking.

Not all laughter is healing. Some people who laugh on the outside are not genuinely happy at all. There are shallow and cheap forms of entertainment, jokes that are crude, and gossip that makes fun of others that will cause some people to laugh. But in the end, hearts might still be empty and hurting. The Bible teaches us that there are times for laughter and times for crying (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Solomon tells us that not all laughter is genuine. Sometimes when we hear other people laugh, we might assume everything is okay, but deep down inside a person might be in distress. Other times people laugh as a way to avoid facing a difficulty in their life. Turning away from certain problems, like an addiction or other sinful habit, will eventually increase our sorrow and grief. Wisdom knows the difference in our laughing.

Additional reading: Proverbs 14:1–19

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
- Proverbs 14:13

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