Marietta First United Methodist Church

Laughing Out Loud (LOL)

by Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults

Recently, I overheard one of my adult children, while looking at his cell phone screen, comment, “LOL seems to cover any awkward texting situation.” For those of you who don’t know, LOL is the acronym for the phrase “laughing out loud,” and apparently this acronym is used in multiple contexts within the digital world. Biblically speaking, as we read in I Peter 4:8, love covers a multitude of sins, but what about laughter? Is laughing out loud a cure all? We read that a cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and that a cheerful heart has a continual feast (Proverbs 15:15).  Laughter releases endorphins which cause us to feel good. No doubt, laughter is an amazing gift from God. However, is laughter always in good taste? In Ecclesiastes 3:4 we read that there is a time for laughter, but also there is a time for weeping. This passage indicates that laughter is not always appropriate. Laughter is certainly not appropriate when it is malicious or at another’s expense.  In Genesis 18:12 we read that Sarah laughs in disbelief, not necessarily in joy, when she overhears that she is to have a son. While some may use humor as a way to avoid dealing with uncomfortable situations, well-timed humor can often break tension, create community, and provoke change.      Laughter and humor appear throughout scripture and are inspired by a variety of things. God laughs, but it is generally at the wicked and conspiring (Psalm 37:13 and Psalm 59:8).

Laughter makes our heart lighter. Let’s try to laugh more; it is so much easier to face challenges in our daily lives when we’re filled with hope and laughter.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. (Psalm 126:2-3).