LOOKING UP: What would you add to your home?
Friday, 15 June 2012 by JOE BAISDEN
Dr. Gary Smalley, family counselor, president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center and author of books on family relationships from a Christian perspective, tells how Bill Butterworth, an outstanding family conference speaker, had a habit of asking an open-ended question of his audiences. The question: "If you could add anything to your home — what would it be?"
Before I reveal the Number One answer among Butterworth's audiences, ask yourself the question. What would your answer be? Think about it for a few moments, and then continue to read.
Butterworth reports that the number one answer coming from his crowds is Laughter.
I vote for that! The right kind of laughter in just the right abundance can ease the strain of life and inspire us to keep on keeping on.
Through the years our family has loved to laugh. Although some of our experiences may not have been funny at time, recalling them together can lead to hilarious laughter.
The Bible reminds us that there is "a time to laugh" (Eccl. 3:4). The Psalmist reveals that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Psa. 17:22).
Clovis Chappell, a great pulpiteer of another generation, often laced his sermons with delightful bits of humor. He was confronted by a member of his congregation one day who said, "Preacher! Watch your humor! Remember, 'Jesus wept'." Chappell reminded his critic that is was Jesus who also went around saying, "Be of good cheer!"
I experienced a similar attack one time. The critic would have had me avoid the use of any humor at all in my sermons. Of course, I was hurt to receive such an unexpected shot fired across the bow, but after I thought it over, I decided to laugh it off.
Something wonderful happens when folks get together and laugh. The best kind of laughter however is not that which is prompted by what the Bible would call "obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking which are out of place" (Eph. 5:4). Neither should it involve harsh and malicious put-downs that hurt someone else."
Cervantes, in Don Quixote, wrote: "Jests that give pain are no jests."
Some of us, old enough to remember the Fibber McGee and Molly show on the radio, will recall the words of Molly, when Fibber now and then stepped over the line. She would say in an unmistakably convincing tone: "Taint funny, McGee!"
The Bible tells us "love does no harm to its neighbor" (Rom. 13:10). We need to be cautious about laughter that comes at the expense of another person's feelings. Let's make sure we are laughing with one another and not at one another. Laughter at its best is lifted from the heart by love. The fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control" (Gal. 5:22-23).
Volatile situations can often be diffused with a little humor. Alan Alda of MASH fame observed: "When people are laughing, they're generally not killing one another."
Give your family and friends a gift. Give them the gift of healthy laughter. Work at adding just the right amount of humor at just the right time. I must, however, offer this warning: If you are tempted to dominate every conversation with an overabundance of too-often-repeated jokes, Dr. Pittman spoke wisdom when he advised, "Too durn much of anything gets to be more than enough!"
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" – Phil. 4:4