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More joyful laughs

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Haven't most of us suffered from unkind, would-be humor? Christianity -- when it is practiced -- brings joy. Christ Jesus urged his disciples to obey his commandments so that "my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." n1

n1 John 15:11,

What makes us truly happy? How does humor relate to joy?

We all know that laughter and joy don't necessarily have the same trigger. Escapist laughs, for example, can't increase our happiness in living. In fact, they could be a sign that we're missing out on real happiness -- the kind that comes from knowing God better and serving Him more.

But true joy does makes us more happy and better balanced. It can even sharpen our sense of humor.Does God mandate a dull life? Not at all!

Of course, Christly bliss has a price. The discipline of getting to know one's truly happy, immortal selfhood costs persistent effort.

Not that we have to grit our teeth at the bathroom miror each morning in a grim resolve to live the day joyfully! Happiness comes to us by divine law. Jesus loved God and loved his neighbor as himself -- the two great commandments of God's law. Hence his joy, so abundant that it overflowed in healing wherever he went.

The same joy is offered to us on the same terms -- love for God and man.

Here surely is the great clue for the upgrading of wit around the world -- love. Motives for making gags and wisecracks can sometimes be secret frustration, cynicism, sensuality, desire for money. Some amusement may come, but does it refresh us? We canm do with laughs, but it's when they spring from a life that is profoundly selfless -- and therefore truly happy -- that they give us the best life.

It comes down to knowing who we really are: God's loving chindren, not mortals sentenced to walk a perpetual treadmill of materiality.


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