I’m like Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins. I love to laugh. I’ve never laughed so hard that I ended up on the ceiling, but I still love to laugh. I even like it when people laugh at me–to a point. Of course, I always like for people to laugh when I am trying to be funny and sometimes even when I’m not.
I like joking, when it’s really funny and when it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Being a jokester takes maturity. It is so easy for joking to be misused. I recently heard someone make a request of an employee at a place of business. He went above the call of duty and quickly brought the requested item. Instead of saying a simple thank you, the person making the request began to joke by making outlandish requests for even more. I kept wanting to hear a simple and kind thank you. The employee who had been so prompt stood there looking unsure about what to do next. Not a very nice reward for going out of the way to be nice.
Sometimes people use their jokes as a cowardly way to criticize someone else and then when the person is offended, they say, “I was just joking” or, even worse, “You can’t take a joke.”
Have your ever spent time with someone who was so busy joking, you never could have a real conversation about anything important? It’s fun to have fun, but it’s also good to share our hopes and fears and convictions. I have had deep conversations with people I had met only two minutes before. I’ve also known people with whom I have never had a deep conversation even though I have known them for many years. Sometimes joking keeps other people from getting to the important things.
We have many things to teach our children. Two of the kindest are how to use humor for fun and blessing and how to share their hearts and souls when the time is just right.
Like a madman who throws
Firebrands, arrows and death,
So is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, “Was I not joking?”
Proverbs 26:18-19, NASB