Robin Williams is dead. I am sad that he killed himself. I can’t say I was a fan of his, though he did make me laugh many times. I didn’t see most of his movies, but I saw enough to know that he was a gifted actor.
What’s happening today is an illustration of how dark our lives are. We are so stressed out, so fearful, so unhappy with our jobs, so frustrated with our marriages, so disconnected from our families, so uncertain about the future that anyone who can make us laugh is given a pass on everything else.
A few years ago I was counseling a young woman whose marriage was falling apart. I never thought she and her husband were a good match, so I asked her why she married him. She said, “I know it sounds crazy, but he made me laugh. My life had always been very sad and he was this guy who came into my life cracking jokes and I honestly think I fell in love with him for that reason.”
I never saw the movie, Ted, but I did read that it was voted the dirtiest movie of the year in 2012 by some parenting group. Imagine how disheartened I was when I heard some Christians friends snickering and talking about how hilarious it was.
And yes, even preachers benefit from being funny. I’ve heard people rave about how great a sermon was, not because it was really all that great, but because it contained some rib-splitting jokes.
In this world, nothing will earn you undying devotion and a pass on bad behavior quicker than the ability to make people laugh. I say this not to disparage Robin Williams, but simply as a commentary on our world. It’s a sad place. People hunger for a reason to smile. I told someone just the other day that I was going to have to cut back on my news watching because it’s all so depressing.
The good news is that we have the real antidote to all this sadness: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The truly ironic thing is that when we offer the world this antidote…yes, that’s right, it laughs. We shouldn’t be surprised. John 3:19 says, “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light.”
Still, though the starving scoff at the food we offer, we keep reaching out.
I am praying for Robin Williams’s family. I hope you will too.