I’ve heard people claim that kids laugh ten times more per day than adults do. I couldn’t find reliable research on the topic, but my hunch is that most people would agree that kids are the undisputed champs of laughter. They are more prone to outbursts of joy! Maybe that’s one of the reasons Jesus encouraged us to become more like children if we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Recently a friend sent me a viral YouTube video of some baby bears playing together. The bears snuck into someone’s backyard in New Jersey, jumped in their above-ground pool and played with all the pool toys. The parents filming the video couldn’t believe what was happening– they were enjoying it as much as the baby bears were! It was hilarious.
However, I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on this video. One person stated, “This is an outrage that some of you find this amusing. These bears are destroying someone’s property, and shame on you all for encouraging this.” Inevitably there is always someone in the comments section that’s against baby bears playing and laughing.
Noted theologian GK Chesterston once said, “The secret of life lies in laughter and humility.” He goes on to say the opposite of humility is self-righteousness. Chesterton says, “self-righteousness keeps us from laughing and puts us under a heavy weight, but it doesn’t stop there. It also makes us think our job is to help everyone else feel the weight.”
Chesterton’s words reminded me of some words that Jesus spoke to a group of religious people. Jesus said, “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matt 23:4)
If self-righteousness means turning the things of life into weighty issues all of the time, then it makes sense to me that the way of Jesus is doing the opposite. When we draw close to Jesus, we start lifting the burdens and weight from the backs of others. And according to GK Chesterton, we can assume some laughter and humility will follow.
I don’t want to be a person that puts cumbersome loads on other people’s shoulders; I desire to be someone that lifts the weight off! In doing so we follow Jesus’ example.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)