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Character Matters
July 2011
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Character Trait – Humor:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
by Lori Coeman
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Spiritual Funny Bone
Why is it that we call the elbow joint the “funny bone” when it hurts so much when hit? There’s nothing funny about it. Perhaps it is someone’s twisted sense of humor. After all, there is such a thing as biting humor. And most of us have felt the sting of teasing and kidding that was meant to be funny yet had the opposite effect on us.

The word humor literally means to be moist. It comes from the ancient belief that four body fluids were thought to be responsible for a person’s health and disposition. Sort of like natural juices that flow through the body bringing life and sustenance. As Christians, we recognize that this life flow is the spirit of man. It is no coincidence that the Holy Spirit within us is described as rivers of living water (John 7:38).

A sense of humor is considered one aspect of joy – one of the fruit of the Spirit and an aspect of the character of Christ. Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful, merry heart is good for the body, acting like medicine to restore life. A sense of humor and the ability to laugh at circumstances enables us to not take life so seriously, including our own. It has a way of putting things into perspective.

When we become absorbed and consumed by the little things in life, they take on more significance than is really the case. We lose sight of the big picture and what is of eternal value. When we cannot laugh at ourselves or certain circumstances, we become more important and bigger in our own sight than is really the case. Romans 12:3 warns us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

As homeschoolers, having the sole responsibility for our children’s training day in and day out can weigh heavily, especially if we think we have something to prove to others or compare ourselves to other families. Unless we have some sort of release valve, the pressures can build to an explosive point or lead to burn-out.

Laughter is an excellent release. Researchers have documented the physical changes that take place in the body when we laugh, so much so that the medical field is using laughter as part of the healing process in some cases.

When my twins started walking and talking, an elderly neighbor suggested that I keep a Cute & Funny Album. No matter how busy things get, she said, be sure to jot down the funny and cute things your children say and do. It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect. Just be sure to write it down.

To this day I can still pull out that album, read a few entries, and feel my body relaxing as a smile crosses my face. I may chuckle. I may shake my head, wondering how we made it through the recorded escapade. Yet here we are – on the other end of the training process – with two young adults pursuing their unique paths in Christ.

That’s the perspective we need to keep in mind. So be sure to not only stop to smell the roses but give a little chuckle or two along the way.
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Image Credit: © kentannenbaum - Fotolia.com

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