A Smile Can Be Sunshine, And Laughter A Great Medicine
Sometimes it seems that there is little reason to smile. That is when I treasure friends like Ed, my old neighbor, because such friends can laugh at themselves and life. Life has times when one will need to cry in pain, at sadness, death, and disaster. Some times call for celebration, laughter, and joy. Much of daily life is not a pressing time to cry or to laugh. Regularly, we do have the opportunity to laugh at ourselves and life.
Ed claims that some people are too busy laughing and making fun of other people to laugh at themselves. Some laughter is mean-spirited. No one wants to be a laughingstock of others. The laughter of some is from their poisonous, tongues, and hateful hearts. An honest smile towards others can be like sunshine to them. We can share good-humored laughter with others that is irresistible and contagious.
In Proverbs, it speaks of a cheerful heart as good medicine and that a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. In the same book of the Bible, it says that for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Much has been written positively about laughter: It has been said that laughter, like salt added to food, can improve almost everything. Also, it has said that life is better when you are laughing.
The Church Season of Lent is a time for Christians to laugh at themselves and their ability to impress God. In Lent, we take the sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus for all sinners very seriously. We live in a world full of boasting, bragging, and about being the best. Even churches and individual Christians may be infected with narcissism. We can take ourselves too seriously, which makes us blind to our own mistakes or sin. We may think in our conceit that we are pleasing or impressing God above others. Only God is sinless and entirely holy and has every and all answers.
Today as in every age, we think and act as if we don’t need God because we are God in ourselves. The number one idol in our lives, maybe ourselves. We may not say that there is no God, but we may live as if God is not the God of me. We may take strength in ourselves, but it is not possible to always be content with ourselves. We try to love ourselves with all our heart, soul, and mind, but God is above us and all things. To God goes the highest honor, not to anyone else.
The Parable of Jesus about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector reminds us to laugh at ourselves and our ability to impress God. A tax collector and a Pharisee went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. He thanked God that he was not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or like the tax collector also there to pray. He boasted about his fasting and giving before God. The tax collector stood at a distance and, with head lowered, prayed, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.” (Paraphrase Luke 18: 9-14) How hard to humble ourselves in every season and invite God to exalt us in faith in Jesus Christ His Savior for us.