The dictionary has a few definitions for the word comedy, one being "a drama of light and amusing character and typically with a happy ending; humorous entertainment." When we think of the word "comedy," we tend to think of funny TV shows, stand-up comedians, and viral videos that make us laugh. But is it OK for Christians to spend time laughing at hilarious cat videos or stand-up comic routines?
Yes, God loves laughter and good humor! We can just look at His creation to see His sense of humor at work. Did you know that the platypus is an egg-laying mammal with a duckbill and a beaver tail? Have you ever seen two giraffes fighting with their necks? And just a few minutes watching the antics of monkeys, and we see plenty of evidence that God's creatures bring laughter and amusement.
God Himself is the ultimate cause for and source of joy, as one psalmist said, "You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound" (Psalm 4:7). So, it makes sense that His joy would pour into His creation and world. Genuine humor is a godly thing, and the Lord wants us to be joyful (John 15:11).
Due in no small part to sin, not all humor and comedy is honoring to God. A lot of comedy entertainment is grounded in profane, sinful behaviors or hurtful words and actions. This kind of humor slanders the sanctity of God-given things like human dignity, sex, love, and faith. Worldly humor can water down the evil behind things like racism, assault, and discrimination, thus desensitizing the viewer to the true depravity of those circumstances. Comedy that tears down what is sacred or mocks the plight of those less fortunate isn’t honoring to God.
Unfortunately, many movies and shows, stand-up comics, cartoons, podcasts, etc. fall into these less-than-noble ways of making people laugh. While often misunderstood, Philippians 4:8 is a verse that provides a good measuring stick for what we should fill our minds with: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
If a piece of entertainment focuses on mockery, unbiblical ideas of sex, or the raunchier, disrespectful, or condescending side of life...well... That’s not something an Ambassador for Christ should be exposing their minds to (Ephesians 5:4; Matthew 7:12). Very little media is 100% "clean," so trying to find completely wholesome content is not always possible. However, we are still 100% responsible for listening to the Holy Spirit’s convictions about what we should (and should not) allow to shape our thoughts (John 14:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Galatians 2:20).
If you aren’t sure about certain pieces of media or entertainment, then you should always put that bit on hold and bring it before God (Philippians 4:6). God isn’t going to be mad at you for not knowing, and He certainly isn’t upset by your asking for wisdom about the influence of a specific show, movie, or podcast on your mind.
Laughing isn’t sinful. Remember, the Bible encourages us to laugh and enjoy life (Proverbs 17:22; John 10:10), which benefits our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. The problem isn’t humor—the problem is the type of humor we allow to shape our hearts, minds, and worldview. Be mindful of how comedy (or any type of entertainment) affects you and if it is beneficial to your life or hurtful to your ability to be compassionate and kind to others.
REFERENCES: 1. Definition of "comedy"; Merriam-Webster: America's most-trusted online dictionary; https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comedy [Accessed: 11-9-2022].
Comedy is defined as "humorous entertainment." God does have a sense of humor and is, in fact, the source of all joy (Psalm 4:7)! However, like anything in our fallen world, comedy can be tainted by slandering the sacred things God created or mocking those less fortunate. Philippians 4:8 gives examples of what kinds of things are beneficial for us to dwell upon. Very little media is 100% "clean," so trying to find completely wholesome content isn't always possible. However, we are still 100% responsible for listening to the Holy Spirit’s convictions about what we should allow to shape our thoughts (John 14:26; Galatians 2:20). If you don’t know how something is affecting you, then take it before God and ask Him for wisdom and conviction (James 1:5; Philippians 4:6).
Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.
September is an avid film nerd from growing up on weekend trips to Universal Studios Hollywood. She is passionate about the intersections of Christian spirituality, faith, and storytelling in popular culture. Outside of 412teens and digging up obscure horror flicks from the 2000s, she works as a freelance developmental editor and acquisitions consultant while comforting her clingy feline floof, Faust, from the anxiety of existence.