We think quite highly of laughter. And so we should. According to researchers its health benefits are clear. It can reduce stress hormones, increase the “good” kind of cholesterol and decrease the inflammation of our arteries. A good giggle doesn’t just have a positive impact on our physical health, it’s also proven to do wonders for our mental health by reducing anxiety. We can all relate to the euphoric feeling we get after a good laugh, and considering it’s the most obvious expression of joy, it makes sense happiness and a hearty chuckle go hand in hand.

I love to laugh. I love the sound of it, the way it makes me feel and the unexpected, uncontrollable and infectious nature of it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s guilt-free goodness. God wants us to do it. He even does it himself! Like love, laughter is a gift from God that we should receive with open arms.

Ahead of World Laughter Day on Sunday 1 May, here are 10 Bible verses which teach us the different ways that laughter is spoken about in the Bible

The Lord laughs
Aristotle believed that our ability to laugh separated us from animals. What the Bible reveals is that it’s another thing that connects us to God.

Psalm 37:13 – But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.

Psalm 2:4 – The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

Laughter as medicine
Laughter is often referred to as the best medicine. These medicinal properties didn’t go unnoticed in the Bible…

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

Proverbs 15:13 – A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

Laughter as a gift from God
God wants us to be happy. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and what better way is there to express joy but through laughter?

Job 8:21 – He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:2 – 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.”

Luke 6:21 – Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Laughter as a mask
Laughter can reveal our emotions and is a great remedy for coping with sadness but sometimes people can use it to hide their true feelings.

Proverbs 14:13 – Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.

The timing of laughter
In a similar way that timing is vital in the delivery of a joke, it’s also key when it comes to laughter. Laughter has the ability to lift the spirits but it can also dampen them.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 – A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Job 12:4 – I have become a laughing stock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered— a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!

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