What is holy laughter?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The term "holy laughter" was coined to describe a phenomenon during which a person laughs uncontrollably, presumably as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit's joy. It is characterized by p...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Steven Best Former mil intel analyst, chiropractor & Bible Teacher
I believe much of the "holy laughter" we see today – particularly on TV – is counterproductive and out of order. The Bible does speak much of "mocking" or "derisive" laughter, but that has little if anything to do with most of the laughter I have seen. Scripture tells us that a merry heart can be a good medicine (Prov 17:22), while the fruits of the spirit, include that often elusive quality of "joy," directly after love, (Gal 5:22). Jesus said he was accused of drunkenness, which leads me to think he had no shortage of levity, and since Solomon wrote there is a time and season for everything under heaven, including laughing (Ecc 3:1-4), it seems to me Jesus would have experienced his share. Why else would the children have loved so to be carried on his shoulders (Mark 10:16)? When Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice," it is my understanding the implication is that of overflowing joy, which it seems to me would be a good definition for laughter.	

While I do not agree with those who feel that staggering around like a bunch of drunken sailors, howling like coyotes, or walking someone around on a leash while they crawl on all fours has anything to do with godly order in the congregation, I have witnessed times, where individuals and even an entire congregation became filled with joy to the point of overflowing with laughter. It usually came about during celebratory worship, did not go on for hours, did not prevent the delivery of a meaningful sermon, did not disrupt worship, or send visitors scurrying toward the doors. A few times, it came about during a time of quiet congregational prayer, and it was never commonplace. I have probably experienced this a half-dozen times in 35 years.

Afterwards, it became apparent that some of the members of the congregation had been in severe depression, and, more than once, I was one of them, suffering from both a debilitating illness and the loss of my only daughter. It had been over a year since I could laugh, and even a smile took a contrived effort, but lasted only a moment. Somehow, by God's grace, when that spirit of joy came, there was an amazing release in my spirit. Not only did I laugh, but I received the gift of faith, that God was good and I could trust everything to Him. Proverbs 17:22 and Ecclesiastes 3:4 had come to life. You just don't know how good it feels to laugh, until you've wrestled with suicidal thoughts day and night, week after week, month after month, because the world has gone so dark, you honestly question what the purpose of life could possibly be. Those rare but special times gave me a release in my spirit better than any psychiatric medicine ever could, and it was a release that lasted. There is good purpose that can come from a holy laughter, just as much foolishness and confusion can be contrived from its counterfeit.

June 25 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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