Single post

Laugh Lines and Lifelines

June 1st, 2009

 Focus Text: Proverbs 14:13 (NLT)

13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
      but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

At first glance, this particular passage can be a bit unnerving.  Why?  Because we love to champion the verses of scripture that deal with the medicinal properties of a “merry heart.”  In this particular journey, those passages are just a few chapters ahead of where we are.  But for now, the author takes us down a preliminary path of understanding concerning this most mysterious and vital human particular.

I say human particular because you cannot find one other creature in all of creation who laughs.  Sure, you can finagle a dog’s bark to sound like laughter or even phrases such as “I Ruv Rou!”  But as my best friend and comedian Jonnie Wethington ( says, they’re probably tazing the poor animal off camera to get this response.  Simply put, humans are the only living creatures that have the ability to laugh.

When you really break it down, laughter is a funny thing . . . no pun intended.  It is a direct reflection of our cognitive and emotional selves, as opposed to just our physical or biological selves.  Sure, you can instigate laughter through the physical act of tickling, but even this is still tied to emotions.  How do I know?  Try tickling your spouse to get them to laugh on the middle of a heated argument . . . yeah, let me know how that one works out for you.  Trust me, laughter is cognitive and emotional.

This verse is not contradictory to the other passages about the intrinsic value of laughter to the condition of one’s heart and health.  No, in my opinion, it simply sets up the conditional truth that will make those passages make sense.  “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.”  In other words, laughter is not a permanent solution to deeper issues of the heart.

Our culture is desperate to laugh . . . and rightfully so.  The issues of life weigh heavy upon our generation.  Entertainment has become an emotional escape . . . like a digital tickle that produces some relief in the form of laughter.  Hey, I want to laugh as much as anyone else.  I love a good comedy or a funny television series.  In my world, I’m surrounded by humorous people and situations.  Laughter is wonderful gift from the Creator.

But take note that eventually, the TV must be turned off.  At that point, as this scripture points out, the realities of life set back in.  Entertainment should be just that . . . entertainment.  Temporary moments of mental disengagement can be freeing and enjoyable, but we must not avoid the truth that what lies deep within us must be dealt with in deep ways.  Shallow escapes cannot repair deep wounds.

The goal is to laugh and enjoy the moment, yet still possess the peace, perspective, and presence of heart to know where true healing is found.  So laugh as often as possible, but don’t forget to deal with the heavy heart by allowing laughter’s Creator to perform His spiritual, surgical tickle down deep where it counts.  That way, moments of temporary joy might produce laugh lines on our faces, but they won’t be lifelines to our heart.  

There’s only one lifeline that works.


theme by teslathemes