Q&A: When is Laughter Appropriate? Ecclesiastes 2:2 and Proverbs 17:22

When is Laughter Appropriate? Ecclesiastes 2:2 and Proverbs 17:22

Question

When is laughter appropriate? Ecclesiastes 2:2 and Proverbs 17:2

Answer

Ecclesiastes 2:2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

The book of Ecclesiastes actually answers the question saying, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" (Eccl. 3:1). God ordained laughter and joy as well as tears and sorrow. There is, "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:4). Laughter may be appropriate in some situations and inappropriate in others. We should enjoy life, express joy in the life God has given us, and have a cheerful spirit. However, our end goal should not be laughter (or hedonism), but the enjoyment of God. Laughter is not the means to happiness, though it may be expressed when one is happy. In addition, as cultures vary, we have to be careful in how and when we display laughter so as to not be an offense to others.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).