by josh sullivan
John Candy, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Steve Martin have been making us laugh for decades. New faces emerged and people like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Chris Farley, Steve Harvey, David Spade, Eddie Murphy, and Mike Meyers came along and, although it was different, they kept the laughter going. After those guys, Jonny Knoxville and his group of friends came along, and the world laughed while watching them hurt themselves. In the same way that humor has changed, so has the world.
The world we live in is constantly changing. I’m 38 years old. I grew up in a time where the only way you received mail was from the mailman. The closest thing we had to an iPhone was a Walkman. As a family, if we wanted to have a movie night, we would have to rent a VHS from Blockbuster or Movie Gallery. The coolest people in the world had cordless telephones with caller ID and call waiting. Most homes had huge front porches because everyone knew their neighbors and wanted them to come by and say hello.
Obviously, so much of that has changed. We now stream movies, all have our own cellphones that can do almost anything, and most of the world have traded their front porches, where neighbors could come by and say hello, for back porches, where they can be isolated. One thing that has been consistent (especially for me) is laughter. People from all backgrounds and cultures have always enjoyed laughing.
The Bible says that a joyful heart is a good medicine. You will see more people emerge and different kinds of humor will continue to show up, because what the world needs now more than ever is laughter. Our country is hurting. Depression and suicide statistics are higher than they have ever been. So many people have lost their jobs, people are struggling to make ends meet, and our country has never been more divided. Marriages are dealing with pressures they have never had to deal with before and, on top of that, we are living in the middle of a pandemic.
Mark Twain says, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” An assault of laughter is exactly what we need… an actual physical attack of laughter… a straight up belly laugh that brings tears to your eyes and pain to your ribs. Humor and laughter bring us together. It reminds us of better times and give us hope for a brighter future. It bridges gaps and, ultimately, it heals.
What the world needs now is laughter. Most of you don’t know me so I have to tell you something about myself. I can’t write this article without letting you know that I love Jesus. My life is based on His word, His principles, and His ways. With that being said—because of Jesus, I have joy.
Josh is a campus pastor in Mobile, AL with City Hope Church, which has seven campuses total. Josh has served in just about every role in church ministry. His overwhelming love for God has directed his life and personality, giving him the opportunity to share his infectious joy with thousands of people, but mostly his 4 children and his wife, Faith.
FINDING THE SMALL THINGS TO LAUGH AT DOES NOT CHANGE THAT THERE IS PAIN AROUND YOU OR EVEN PAIN IN YOUR LIFE. IT JUST GIVES THOSE AROUND YOU THE MOMENTS THEY NEED TO FIND STRENGTH, PERSPECTIVE, AND HOPE.
Joy means everything to me. Why? Because it’s proof of Jesus in my life. What is the biggest difference between joy and happiness? Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is not. Just like everything God creates, the devil perverts it. The devil wants to sell you a watered-down version of the best that God has to offer. Here are a few examples. You can have joy even if you are not living in your dream home, not driving your dream vehicle, your spouse has gained thirty pounds in all the wrong places, and your children behave in a way that can only be blamed on the Mountain Dew and candy that your in-laws swear they aren’t giving them. Again, joy is not determined by your circumstances or what is happening in the world around you. It is rooted in the foundation of your heart because you have found the secret to living in the chaos that surrounds you: Jesus.
One of the saddest things I see in the world right now is people who have lost their joy. They have focused so heavily on the negative that they no longer give themselves permission to see the good. I heard this quote and it seems to be timely: “An optimist laughs to forget; a pessimist forgets to laugh.” With everything happening in our world, we need to get our laugh back! When was the last time you laughed at a good Dad joke? I have one for you…
What did the dad say when the cashier at the grocery store asked if he wanted his milk in a bag?
Nah, just keep it in the carton.
HA!!! One more…
How do you make a Kleenex dance?
You put a little boogie in it!
I know what you’re thinking. This guy is cheesy. Let me help you with that. You are correct! In a world that finds the smallest things to be offended by, maybe we can change that if we start finding the smallest things to laugh at. Give yourself a break. Stop being so serious! What the world needs now is a big ol’ dose of the best medicine it can get: a joyful heart.
I was recently at a funeral and I saw a large group of the family standing together. I walked over to check on them. Of course, I went there to grieve and support the family. We weren’t even five minutes into the conversation, and we were all belly laughing! People looked at us like we were crazy. Was the family hurting? Yes. Were they grieving? Yes. Were they laughing at an embarrassing story that cannot be shared in this magazine? Absolutely! Those few minutes did not take away the pain of losing someone they loved. Do you know what did happen though? It reminded them of a better time. It gave them hope for their future. That is the power of laughter and humor… It heals.
Finding the small things to laugh at does not change that there is pain around you or even pain in your life. It just gives those around you the moments they need to find strength, perspective and hope.
I believe we have to stop focusing on everything that is wrong and start finding what is right. Please understand that I am not saying we should ignore what is happening around our country. There are definitely things that need to change. There are definitely things that should unsettle us and need our attention. At the same time, if we stop seeing the good and do not give ourselves permission to laugh every now and then, we could ultimately lose our way.
Here is the truth. It starts with me and it starts with you. We cannot make everything in the world better, but we can start making ourselves better. Here is my challenge to you: Take a break from the news and social media and turn your favorite comedy on. Maybe put a little distance between you and the negative people in your life. I am not saying you have to do this forever—just until you can laugh and find the good in the world again. Finally, the next time you hear a Dad joke… laugh no matter what!
By the way, why does a duck have feathers?
To cover their butt quack.