Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All Kidding Aside

There’s one in every family.

The prankster, the joker, the wit, the funny one.  The one who tries to bring the funny to any situation.

In our family there are three of us.  My husband and I can giggle and laugh at the dumbest stuff, bouncing funny comments off one another just because.  I used to muse that I was so happy that my son had inherited my sense of humor.  I said used to.

That was before he started leaping from behind walls and telling wild stories just to see my reaction, then saying “Joking!” when my eyes were about to bug out of my head.

My mother will tell you that I deserve every bit of it.  She’s right.

Our daughter is the odd one out.  Maybe it’s just because she’s the youngest, but she gets very indignant when the rest of us are joking around and she doesn’t get it.

Angry and teary, even.

I don’t blame her.  Sometimes our joking around is at each other’s expense.  No one likes to be teased.  No one likes to be laughed at, even if the laughing is from those who love us the most.  We have to be careful that we don’t damage her sensitive nature.  Someday she might get it, but that time is not now.  She doesn’t like to be reminded that she doesn’t get it.

Isn’t that how we all are sometimes?  Sensitive to others who know something we don’t?  Jealous and resentful that someone else has what we don’t, even if it’s just an inside joke?  We only want to belong, claim our seat at the table.  When we don’t get it, we sulk, are hurt.

One thing that God is not is a joker.  Sure, everyone says that God has a sense of humor, but it is never at anyone’s expense.  God doesn’t tease.  He doesn’t tell us something we find pleasure in, only to pull the rug out from under us.  God takes his word very seriously.  The Bible is full of commands and texts that convict us to reexamine our lives to better align with what he wants for us.

After all, God wants us to live with him forever.  There will be no room for someone who maligns another, who tries to one-up his neighbor, who teases and taunts to produce tears.

I am sensitive of this in my own family, for my daughter’s sake.   I fail every now and then, and am reminded of my failure when her face crumples and the tears roll.  At that moment I hope to stop and be reminded how many times God keeps his word with me, how many times I stumble and instead of laughing at me, he reaches out his hand and helps me to stand.

And I am thankful that God takes his love for me seriously, and there’s no joking around about it.

Well, I know a few things myself - and you’re no better than I am.  Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?  Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer.  I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me.  People who are at ease mock those in trouble.  They give a push to people who are stumbling.  Job 12:3-5 (NLT)
If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  Galatians 5:15 (NIV)
Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.  Psalm 109:26 (NIV)

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