(J. R. Miller, “The Duty of Laughter”)
“The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52
“The fruit of the Spirit is joy” Galatians 5:22
The Wise Man says that there is “a time to laugh.” That is, there is a time when laughter is right, when it is a duty–and when it would be wrong not to laugh. Perhaps we have not been accustomed to think of laughter in this way. We regard it as an agreeable exercise–but are not apt to class it among duties, like honesty or kindness.
It would be a sad thing, however, if laughter should be altogether crowded out of life. Think of a world of human beings with no laughter–men and women always wearing grave, serious, solemn faces. Think of the laughter of childhood,departing from the world–how dull and dreary life would be! Nothing on earth is more beautiful, than the merry laugh of childhood.
Laughter has its place in every wholesome, healthy, holy life. The man who never smiles–is morbid! He has lost the joy chords out of his life. He has trained himself to think only of unpleasant things, to look only and always at the dark side. He has accustomed himself so long to sadness–that the muscles of his face have become set in hard, fixed lines–and cannot relax themselves. His thoughts of life are gloomy–and the gloom has entered his soul and darkened his eyes!
Where there is no laughter–all evils nest. Demons do not laugh!
The man who never laughs, must not blame his fellows if they think there is something wrong with his life, something dark within.
If the streams which flow out are only bitter–the fountain cannot be sweet!
The Wise Man says:
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13
“A cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” Romans 15:13
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4