On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rate how much time you spend laughing on a weekly basis?

As Christian women it’s easy to get bogged down with the busyness and challenges of everyday life to the point that we are often exhausted, and physically look grumpy, frustrated, and stressed. 

But God, did not call us to a life where we constantly walk around frowning and drained.  In fact, by the power of His Holy Spirit, He wants us to be full of love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5:22-23).   And people that are full of love, joy and peace, smile.  They laugh! 

Laughter is an amazing gift from God, that helps us in so many ways. In this post we will take a look at the health benefits of laughter, several bible verses about laughter, and the importance of learning to laugh more.

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The Health Benefits of Laughter

From a health standpoint, laughter in general is known to have amazing benefits – physically, mentally and socially. Let’s take a brief look at some specific benefits from a few reliable sources.

According to Verywell Mind, (an award-winning resource for reliable and current information on mental health topics), laughter can be a full-blown internal workout.  A good hearty belly laugh actually exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works out the shoulders, leaving our muscles more relaxed afterward.  It even provides a good workout for the heart!

According to Psychology Today, laughter reduces pain allowing us to tolerate discomfort, reduces blood sugar levels, improves job performance, and connects people emotionally.  Recent studies even show that laughter helps our blood vessels function better to improve the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain.

And, according to SelectHealth, (a not-for-profit health plan serving more than 900,000 members), laughter:

  • helps improve your immune system by releasing more anti-infection antibodies
  • lessens chronic depression and anxiety, making it easier to cope with challenging situations
  • helps regulate cortisol levels, therefore reducing stress
  • relaxes your body (a good laugh can relieve your muscles of extra stress for up to 45 minutes!)
  • increases your chances of getting pregnant according to a study done in 2011

As you can see, from a medical and scientific standpoint, there is much evidence supporting the fact that the health benefits of laughter are far-ranging.

But, what does God say about laughter?  How many times is laughter mentioned in the bible?  Does God even want us to laugh?  Let’s dive into Scripture, and take a look.

What Does the Bible Say About Laughter?

There are actually a lot of bible verses about laughter found throughout Scripture.  Depending on the translation you read, the Bible mentions laughing/laughter anywhere between 20-70 times.  We’ll look at six key things that the Bible teaches in regard to laughter in general.

1. There Are Times For Laughter

The wise King Solomon wrote that there is a time and season for everything.  There are times to weep and mourn.  But there are times to laugh and dance as well.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NIV

Jesus pronounced this blessing on his disciples:

Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.  Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

Luke 6:20-23 NIV

Not only are there times to laugh here on earth, but this serves as a reminder that despite all we will go through in our lives for the sake of Christ, that we will laugh and rejoice throughout eternity as well!

2. Laughter is Good Medicine

One phrase about laughter that is commonly quoted is “laughter is the best medicine”.  Although no English version or translation of Scripture quotes it exactly like that, the phrase is derived from Proverbs 17:22:

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

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

The concept is that having a heart full of cheer that is happy and joyful, is good medicine.  In other words, laughter does the body and mind good.  As opposed to a crushed (or sad) spirit which has the opposite effect.

Have you ever been literally in tears, and then had a good friend say something that made you laugh? It’s like an immediate emotional high that helps you feel better right away.  Like an emotional medicine for the heart and soul.  That is the powerful effect of laughter.

3. Laughing in Surprise or Unbelief

Throughout Scripture, God has a habit of doing great and mighty things that make people laugh in surprise or unbelief, because what He says He will do seems unlikely or impossible.

God promised Abraham that He would make him a father of many nations.  At the time of the promise, both Abraham and his wife Sarah were very old, and had no children.

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’

Genesis 17:17 NIV

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”  But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

Genesis 18:12-15 NIV

Several times before Jesus performed a miracle, he was laughed at and ridiculed.

When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

Matthew 9:23-24 NIV

When Paul preached the gospel in Athens, several people laughed when he spoke about the resurrection.

When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.”

Acts 17:32 NLT

In each instance God being God, came through and did what was seemingly impossible. He not only blessed Abraham with a son, but gave him several children, through whose lineage came our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus raised the girl that was presumed dead back to life.  And, although many laughed at Paul’s sermon, many others listened and became believers!

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Genesis 21:6-7 NIV

After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.

Matthew 9:25 NIV

That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Acts 17:33-34 NLT

4. God Laughs at the Wicked

Have you ever wondered if God laughs? There are actually several bible verses about laughter in the book of Psalms that tell us that God laughs regarding the wicked:

  • Why are the nations so angry?  Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury.  Psalm 2:1-5 NLT
  • The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.  Psalm 37:12-13 NLT
  • Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords.  “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. But Lord, you laugh at them.  You scoff at all the hostile nations.  Psalm 59:7-8 NLT
  • Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.  Psalm 73:18-20 NLT

When you study the types of writing in Scripture (the book of Psalms is a poetic book), and the nature of God as a divine Spirit being, you will understand that ultimately the phrase “the Lord laughs” is a figure of speech that the psalmist uses.  It’s not a literal laugh like you and I would exhibit.  Rather God’s laughter is a divine mockery of the wicked. 

And when you read and study the contexts closely, you understand that this laughter is typically linked to God’s judgment.  In fact, my father preached a sermon once titled “When God Laughs, It’s Not Funny”.

5. Becoming a Laughingstock Per God’s Judgment

There are several times in the Old Testament when God pronounced judgment through His prophets on the Nation of Israel for their sins and continued disobedience.  He often stated that He would take away their laughter, and even make them a laughingstock among their enemies.

  • I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.  Jeremiah 7:34 NLT
  • Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.  Exodus 32:25 NIV
  • In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old.  When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her.  Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.  Lamentations 1:7 NIV
  • You have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come. Therefore, I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughingstock to all the countries.  Ezekiel 22:4 NIV

These verses serve as a great reminder, that while God has blessed us with the gift of laughter, that He can just as easily take it away or turn it around on us, when we turn away from Him in sin and disobedience.

6. When NOT to Laugh

Lastly let’s look at a few instances in which the Bible is clear on when NOT to laugh.

There are times when we listen to foolish advice and exhibit foolish behavior, which leads to foolish laughter. It’s in those times that God calls us to put away foolishness, repent, and come back to Him.

It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:5-6 NIV

Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people].  Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom.

James 4:8-9 AMP

Have you ever wondered what the bible says about humor, or if there are any bible verses about laughing at others?

In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus he warned about certain types of bad laughter that comes from inappropriate language, conversations, or jokes:

Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God].

Ephesians 5:4 AMP

And then, there is the story of the kids that made fun of the prophet Elisha and . . . . . it didn’t end well for them at all!

Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!”  Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. 

2 Kings 2:23-24 NLT

A good rule of thumb that I have always lived by is that if I have nothing positive or uplifting to say, then don’t say anything at all.  Biblically speaking our words (and laughter) should be words that comfort, encourage, and build up (Ephesians 4:29-32).

How to Incorporate More Laughter Into Your Life

There are a ton of things going on in the world, and in our personal lives that we could be upset, worried, stressed, or anxious about.  And the devil, wants nothing more than for us to sit around looking and feeling discouraged and hopeless about all of it.  And, if we are not careful, we will find ourselves doing just that.

We must learn to proactively embrace the joy that God has given us, and to incorporate laughter into our daily lives.

Let’s look at 5 easy ways to do just that.

1. Praise God for His Goodness in Your Life

Have you ever taken time to just sit and reflect on the goodness of God in your life?  I promise you that once you start counting your blessings, you’ll be reminded of where God has brought you from.  You’ll remember the stuff you used to do, the things you used to say, the way you used to act, and the decisions you used to make.

I often go back and read old journals from my teenage and college years. And let me tell you, it absolutely cracks me up! You will laugh at your progress, to the point where you cry happy tears.

We have so many things to be grateful for, and so many reasons to just smile, or even burst into laughter.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs 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 are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:1-3 NIV

We have instances in our lives where God turned our situation completely around from bad to good. Where everything that could go wrong, went wrong all at the same time. A serious illness. A financial burden. A legal matter. Our lives at risk.

It’s those circumstances that He brings us through, that we look back on in retrospect, and are in awe of His grace. And because God is that good, it gives us even more reason to break out in praise!

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Psalm 30:11-12 NLT

2. Trust God’s Promises and His Plan for Your Life

Living in a secular world where everything around us is saturated with comparison, it is so easy to get distracted by focusing on what everyone else has.  If we are not careful, we will wear ourselves out trying to keep up with everyone else and what the world claims we ‘need’ to be successful.  Putting all of our focus on pursuing the things of the world is a sure way to sap all of our energy and joy.

This is why It is so important to spend time with God in His Word and prayer daily, so that we can arm our minds with His promises and focus on His plan for our lives.

In Proverbs 31, there is a passage that gives a long list of traits about a woman of virtue.  One of my favorites is:

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

Proverbs 31:25 NLT

A virtuous woman walks in strength and dignity, to the point where she can laugh without fear of the future.  This is because her strength is not found in herself, but rather in God and His promises.  She embraces the truths and promises of God’s Word, trusts in His plans for her life, and can live her life in joy, exhibiting laughter, without fear.

As Christian women of faith, we can do the same!

Even when things are not going our way, or when the enemy seems to be winning, like the psalmist we can put our trust in God, knowing His justice and provision will ultimately prevail:

But God will strike you down once and for all. He will pull you from your home and uproot you from the land of the living. The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say, “Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God.  They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.” But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.  I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.

Psalm 52:5-8 NLT

3. Put Yourself in Positive and Joyful Environments

Sometimes the environment we find ourselves in can contribute to the lack of joy and laughter in our lives.  If we are constantly around negative people who constantly complain, are unhappy, and are all about dread, worry, doom, and gloom, then it becomes easy for us to start taking on similar mindsets.

Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.

I Corinthians 15:33 NIV

Instead, think about those moments when you laugh the most. Think about what you’re doing when you laugh, who you’re with, and what triggers your laughter. Then, start making it a point to ensure you put yourself in those environments and around those people more often. 

And if for some reason you can’t think of any positive and joyful people or places in your life, then it’s time to look for some!  God calls for us to encourage and build each other up, not discourage or tear others down.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 

I Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Even if you have to be positive, joyful, and laugh alone, that is better than subjecting yourself to negative people and environments. 

Just note than if you do change your environment, those same negative people may look on you with contempt – and that’s ok!  Just keep rejoicing in the Lord as David did:

So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres. But as the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.

1 Chronicles 15:28-29 NLT

4. Proactively Look for Humor Daily

Because there is no shortage of negativity in the news, on TV, on the internet and social media, it will often require us to proactively look for humor and things that make us laugh.

In the same way that we sometimes need to change our environments if they are bringing us down, we may have to change the media we are consuming. 

Turn off the TV, close out of your internet browser, and get off social media for a bit!

The question is, what makes you laugh? Is it Irony, sarcasm, comedy, jokes, people, TV shows, facial expressions, music, or something else?

I personally have no problem finding ways to entertain myself.  I literally keep a few comedy shows in my Netflix favorites lineup for quick reference if needed.  I have a file on my phone with funny video clips and memes that I can select from when I need a laugh. 

I have comedy podcasts that I listen to, and several upbeat music playlists on my phone for when I need a “mood pick me up”.  You can even download an app to get daily jokes!

You just have to find the things that bring humor to your life.

5. Laugh Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Although, we have learned that laughter is meant to be a part of our Christian journey, the reality is, we may not always feel like laughing, or even smiling.

It’s in those times, where we literally may have to force ourselves to crack a smile or laugh. 

Did you know scientifically speaking, that our body actually can’t distinguish between fake or real laughter.  In fact, the physical benefits are exactly the same!  Not to mention, that fake laughter usually leads to real laughter anyway.

The fact of the matter is, sometimes we will have to proactively find ways to produce the ‘cheerful heart’ and joy that God wants us to have.

Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.

Proverbs 14:13 NIV

Just remember that laughter can be a great distraction, taking the focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions.

If you try all the other four ways to incorporate laughter in your day, and find that you still feel down, or go a whole day without smiling or laughing, fake it!  Force yourself to smile or laugh. Laugh at yourself. As ridiculous as that sounds, I’m a witness that it works LOL.

Even in dire situations, when we are hurting or grieving, we can trust that God will get us emotionally through it all.  When Job literally lost everything in a short time (all his wealth and his children), one of his friends counseled him as follows:

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Job 8:21 NIV

If you know the story, God ended up blessing the second part of Job’s life more than the first (Job 42:10-16). It is wonderful to know that even in grief, despair, anxiety or depression, that God will once again fill us with laughter and joy!

Make it a Point to Laugh Regularly

As we have seen, laughter is beneficial in so many ways.  And from the various bible verses about laughter that we looked at, we know that God has given us the gift of laughter to enhance our joy, be medicine for our soul, and an instrument of praise for His goodness in our lives.

Do yourself a favor and make it a point to find things that uplift your spirit, cheer you up, and make you laugh daily. I guarantee that adding more laughter into your day will help you to enjoy your life more – the way God intended.

Get rid of any bad or foolish laughter, and instead laugh and rejoice about the goodness of God.  Laugh with family and friends.  Proactively find and incorporate humor into your life. 

Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, try to laugh about them.  Learn to approach life with more of a lightheartedness, while praying and trusting God to handle things beyond your control.

And if you already happen to be the “positive joyful person” that others look to as their source of laughter and encouragement, realize that laughter is contagious.  You can elevate the mood of those around you.  So, keep doing what you’re doing!

Smile ladies. In fact, laugh like crazy!  

As Christians, we have more reasons to laugh than anyone else, because ultimately our joy is in the Lord regardless of our circumstances.  Let’s make it a point to laugh regularly – on purpose! 

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26 Bible Verses About Laughter and It\'s Wonderful Benefits

3 Comments

  1. Thank you Demetra! Good humor therapy for your readers!

  2. Hi Demetra, I’ll bet I’m not the only one who would love to know what shows you enjoy.

    Also, what do you love on YouTube? Anything like Griffi the dancing cockatoo?

    1. Author

      Hey Carol! You or others may laugh when I say this, but I’m an 80s baby, so as far as shows I enjoy that make me laugh – I have to revert back to sitcoms from back in the day because they just don’t have shows like they used to these days. Currently my Netflix Watchlist includes: Sister Sister, Moesha, and believe it or not Saved By the Bell! I also thoroughly enjoy the remake of Full House – now called “Fuller House”. For the last 6 months or so, I will watch an episode of one of these old sitcoms during my lunch time 3-4 days/week. I haven’t gotten into YouTube for comedy as of yet, although my son is a huge fan. I’ll have to check out the dancing cockatoo you referenced lol. For my comedy memes and video clips I defer to Instagram. I currently follow: @christianhumor, @funnychurchstuff, @the_mommy_talks, @just_4jokes, @mrs_ejspeaks

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