I was speaking with a friend earlier today about humour and when and how we use it. Sometimes we use it as a source of comfort or defence and sometimes as a way of attacking others. Very often we will use laughter unaware of how we are really feeling inside and the exposition of the act of laughter will actually be masking a deeper sense of sadness. The laughter is telling people how we want to be seen amid the pain of a different feeling. I have met people over the years who make a joke about almost anything and I have found this quite irritating particularly when you know that the person is deflecting from anything emotional being demanded of them.
I respect deeply the acting and comedic ability of Robin Williams but whenever I see him on a chat show I feel the need to turn off the TV. Whenever the interviewer asks a question he bats back a joke or deflects the intrusion with something equally banal. I would love to see what lies beneath the man but there is always the jester on guard not allowing anyone to make the journey across the draw bridge to emotional transparency. I find this particularly sad when we have people like this within the church. There doesn’t appear to be enough people with the right skills, or boldness to challenge these people in love and draw them into a place of safety where they can learn to trust and be loved. Hopefully they can learn to share without the need to be afraid of what it is they need to protect.
That place within us all that we don’t like to bare so often that needs to be treated with gentleness and affection. The place within us that we often keep from God the one inner room marked private. I pray that God raises up people with the skills and love to acknowledge people who are hurting, not to judge them for what they have done or are afraid of but to show them unconditional love and unequivocal acceptance. I pray that these people can learn to love themselves as much as God would have them love others.