Plain Lesson on Laughter and Weeping
Plain Lesson on Laughter and Weeping
Words of Faith 4-26-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
The teaching of Jesus in the "Sermon on the Plain" in Luke 6, deals with four specific worldly values. The world says that the highest goals in life are to be rich, feed our appetites, be happy, and be well thought of. For the world, this is what life is about. These "Plain Lessons" deal with four areas are arenas of conflict in our lives between the world and the Kingdom of God. Today we look at appetites and indulgence.
[21b] Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. [25b] Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
The World says strive to be happy. But Jesus says: "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep."
One of the great lies of the Enemy is that somehow we are all supposed to be happy all the time. Contemporary culture worships the idol of entertainment seeking to fill our lives with laughter. While laughter and happiness are clearly good and Biblical, there is a balance to be sure. The Bible says that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry (Eccl. 3:4).
This one is tough because much laughter is our choice. We can choose to laugh even in trying situations. It can be helpful to laugh at ourselves. Laughter can be quite healing. But if we make laughter and merriment our idol at all cost, we will miss the Kingdom. We must realize that there are some tears in the Kingdom. There is heartbreak on the road to where God wants you. There is some pain that we will go through. Jesus grieved over Jerusalem and wept at the pain that death causes.
Just before uttering these words Jesus came from a great party. He did not have any trouble rejoicing with the people there. Laughter is a rich and wonderful part of life but so is weeping. We do not actually know from Scripture that Jesus laughed but some of the things that the disciples did must have made him laugh! We know for sure that He cried on occasion.
Laughter can be a great and healing thing but it makes a terrible god! The world says fill your life with laughter and be entertained. People today will pay almost any price to fill the empty spaces in our lives. Lavish vacations at increasingly thrilling locations fill the voids we feel with adrenaline and bright lights but the fix is only temporary. Such diversions eventually lead to dark and dangerous places.
The addiction to laughter eventually leads to filthy comedy clubs or sick movies. The need for excitement leads to increasingly dangerous activities. Entertainment is a huge business trying to fill a ravenous social hunger. In such an environment the arts become lurid rather than thoughtful. We are a society increasingly addicted to the next more exciting show, ride, or vacation destination. When all of that fails, we are still empty, so we are a culture that turns more and more to substances to numb pain and make merry.
And grief is not well tolerated in our culture. People who grieve are viewed as "not doing every well" and given a pill. Those who grieve over our times and culture, like Jesus did over Jerusalem, are viewed as negative or overly melancholy. The balance of life seems to be that we should laugh deeply and weep deeply. If all we do is pursue laughter and entertainment we will miss the Kingdom. And should we miss the Kingdom we will certainly mourn and weep.
Churches and Christian culture can fall into these same traps. We can find ourselves seeking out the funniest or most entertaining preacher in town or on the television. Worship can become an entertainment show. We can find ourselves drawn to Christian conferences or media events that keep us doubled over in laughter, but we still walk away pretty empty. We can also become overly obsessed with weeping over the world. Neither extreme expresses the balance that we see in Jesus.
How do we respond to all this? We can ask-- Have I worshiped the god of "happiness" and entertainment? Perhaps it is time to focus more on God. Should we stop laughing? No. But we might do well to grieve more fully the pain and loss in this world, and stop hiding behind laughter that is not real. We need to discover something better than happiness, and that is the joy of the Lord.
O God, give me the balance. Help me to grieve and weep at the times when You do so. Help me to find joy and laughter in the times when You rejoice. Give me a spirit that always seeks You and not some experience or thrill. In Jesus' name.