A guest post written by Carey Marvin and previously published October 23, 2012
Recently, I have been reflecting on the role humor plays in healing. There have been many books and articles written about this subject, but an article in the Christian Science Journal that I read a few years ago really highlighted for me how laughter can free us from troubling thoughts and brings resolution and healing. The article was an interview of Fenella Bennetts, CSB, and was titled “The Great Rhythms of Life.”
Let me share an example. Our neighbors wanted to do a home improvement project that would include our mailbox, since our mailboxes share a plot of dirt, but the situation became heated. Around that time, my mother and I went on a trip out of town, and on our way home we stopped at Bass Pro Shops, a well-known outdoor gear supplier. In the store, as I was wandering around, I came upon some giant Bass mailboxes – mail went in and out of the mailbox through its giant mouth. As I imagined putting this mailbox up, it brought a wonderful sense of laughter that allowed me to free myself from any concern about the outcome of that contentious home improvement project.
I also very much enjoy humor in television shows or movies. Watching the Olympic games this summer made me feel unified with the world within the context of the British culture. But the moment that someone dressed like the Queen dove out of a helicopter in James Bond fashion, parachuting into the ceremony, was especially humorous and it still makes me laugh when I think about it. I have carried this positive, joyous attitude with me – and this kind of attitude helps to keep anyone in a healthy frame of mind. In the Bible, Paul encourages everyone to meditate on things that are just, pure, lovely, and of good report, which I think includes laughter.
But this also suggests that we need to guard the content of our thought. Sometimes humor in the media can seem hateful or vulgar, and I think it’s important not to participate in that kind of humor. How can we tell the difference between clean humor or what is inappropriate? I think that as children of God we all have a natural sense of right and wrong, and it’s wise to avoid anything that doesn’t uplift thought.