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TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO LAUGH AT THEMSELVES
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
If our children learn not to take themselves too seriously, it will be easier for them to live in relationship with others today and after they become adults. To not think too highly of yourself is to think humbly of yourself. It’s a lack of gospel-centered humility that keeps an individual from living well with God and others.
The foundational character trait to any individual’s life is humility. Without humility, there is no hope for any of us because God only gives empowering, life-changing favor to the humble (James 4:6).
After Paul had finished the first three chapters of Ephesians, he transitioned his message to how to live out the gospel practically. Ephesians is divided neatly into two parts. An old preacher told me many years ago, “Brother Thomas, the Book of Ephesians is in two parts. Part one teaches you how to be saved. Part two teaches you how to behave.”
He is correct. Paul is teaching profound theology in the first part and how to live it out in the second. And where does he begin part two? It’s humility: thinking less of yourself and more of others (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Thinking less of ourselves is one reason we laugh a lot in our home. The humble person will laugh a lot. He will especially laugh at himself. The over-sensitive, approval-driven person is not free to do this, especially at himself. He is too busy thinking too highly of himself while demanding that others also think highly of him.
The thought of anyone thinking less of him, even with appropriate humor, is unbearable. It’s this kind of over-sensitivity and insecurity that kills relationships. Humor is one way to practice humility.
Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity; he cannot give himself over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego. Only the truly humble belong to this kingdom of divine laughter.
Humor and humility should keep good company. Self-deprecating humor can be a healthy reminder that we are not the center of the universe, that humility is our proper posture before our fellow humans as well as before Almighty God. – Terry Lindvall (Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C. S. Lewis)
Laughter is not the only response to pride, but it’s an effective one. Too many people are too serious, too angry, too hurt, and too demanding. They don’t laugh anymore unless they are laughing at others. The gospel-centered person is free to laugh at himself because he has nothing to protect, nothing to hide, and nothing to demand.
He is soberly aware that the Son of God died on a cross so he can be set free from the power and bondage of sin. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).” The humble person is reminded daily of the gospel and quickly lives in the good of it. He is free to laugh a lot, especially at himself.
Heaven is a place of unbridled laughter, joy, praise, and worship. The gospel-freed person can begin practicing a little heaven on earth today. Do you laugh a lot? Are you free to laugh at yourself?
How do you characterize yourself?
How does your attitude about life and others affect your child? How do you need to change?