Writing With Humor

A joyful heart is good medicine.

Proverbs 17:22

When I see Lucy and Ethel coming out in their bakery hats I start to smile.  As I watch them desperately wrapping candies unable to keep up with the speed of the conveyor belt, I totally relate to the feeling.  I’m already behind today.  Now I’m laughing and feeling connected, not alone in my frailty and human condition. It’s a relief to be reminded that I am human, made of dust. My own busy day pulls into perspective.

As a writer I can use humor to relate to my readers and to help my readers connect to their own humanity,  but humor can be misused too. How can I use it wisely? In an article for the Soul Care Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs explains the difference between the humor of the world and the humor of the one who knows God:

Worldly Humor

  • Glorifies Sin
  • Puts down others
  • Ridicules righteousness
  • Hurts the spirit

 Godly Humor

  • Avoids offense
  • Builds up others
  • Honors the Lord
  • Heals the Spirit

Humility and humor and human come from the same root word, humus, which means soil, earth, ground, or sod. The best humor invites us to share in the experience of being human or even being made of dirt by a God who loves us.  Worldly humor comes from a platform of superiority over others, Godly humor from a platform of humility.

Humor is a gift from God to remind us who we are and to keep us humble, best of all it makes us laugh.

I think I’ll watch Lucy and Ethel one more time before I get back to work.


11 Comments on Writing With Humor

  1. Jeanette Edgar
    October 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm (9 years ago)

    My absolute favorite Lucy episode! Love the post, especially the contrast between Godly and worldly humor. I’ll be watching for more.
    PS. I just sent my middle-grade novel query out to four agents last week. Thanks for finding me on Twitter!

    • writingsisters
      October 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm (9 years ago)

      So glad you liked the post! I love to use humor in my writing but always want to make sure I am using it in a way that honors God. Good luck with your queries. Let me know how it goes. Thanks for your comment.

  2. bwebbjr
    October 4, 2012 at 6:13 am (8 years ago)

    In the waiting room at my oncologist, they switched the TV channel from news shows to shows like Lucy and the Dick Van Dyke show … a much better way to start the chemo routine. Appreciate how you have distinguished worldly humor and godly humor … have never stopped to consider that … very insightful.



    • Writing Sisters
      October 4, 2012 at 10:03 am (8 years ago)

      Thanks Bernie – praying for you this morning.

  3. John Holton
    October 4, 2012 at 10:13 am (8 years ago)

    My mother used to talk about how, when she was expecting with me, she and Dad would watch “I Love Lucy” and laugh like idiots. She said that the episode where Lucy was about to have little Ricky had her laughing so hard, she nearly induced labor.

  4. Caddo Veil
    October 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm (8 years ago)

    Oh, this is great, Betsy! I can usually feel the difference in worldly and Godly humor in my spirit/heart–The “Lucy” episode is definitely a popular one, and gives a lift. There are a number of more recent sitcoms that, even when just the commercial comes on, rob my spirit of joy. Humor is a wonderful gift from God, and is one way I really connect with others! God bless you richly–love, sis Caddo

  5. elainemanders
    March 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm (8 years ago)

    Good post. I always find humor refreshing in the novels I read. Without any conscious thought I found a lot of humor coming from the main character of the manuscript I just finished. It was an exaggerated, self-deprecating type of humor that kept the character from appearing to be a conceited rich man, thus making him more likable.

    • Writing Sisters
      March 15, 2013 at 9:52 am (8 years ago)

      love it when “without any conscious thought” things happen


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