In observance of my Benedictine Monastic practices, on the last Friday of each month in 2019 we’re walking Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility. With each step we come closer to our spiritual transformation and the perfect love of God.
The tenth step of humility is that a monk is not quick to laughter. ~ The Rule of Benedict
A fool raises their voice when they laugh. ~ Sirach 21:20
As Christian believers and Christ followers we should be cultivating an atmosphere where all people can feel safe. Much of today’s culture, media and entertainment is harsh and brutal, even bullying, when it comes to humor. Television and movies use sarcasm and vulgarity dressed up as humor that bring harm to various groups of people.
Words that harm others are not humorous.
Humor is about seeing the lighter side of life. It should be used to lift us up out of troubles and weaknesses, not beat us down into them.
Hiding behind hurtful words, the prideful will use negative words to lash out at others while trying to avoid their own internal pain. These arrogant vulgar jokes somehow make them feel better about themselves when they tear others down.
Saint Benedict taught his community of monks not to be quick or loud in their laughter. Step 10 of Humility invites us to take our humor seriously. We must guard our laughter, taking care not to use it in hurtful ways. When someone falls down or has taken a turn for the worse in their life, we mustn’t make light of or laugh at their troubles.
We mustn’t delight in or find humor in the pain of others.
Just like it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, so too our kindness toward others can lead them to God. Let’s cultivate an atmosphere around us that invites others to Christ with our words and behavior.