When friends get together, we laugh about all kinds of things. We laugh when someone says something funny and we laugh when someone says something stupid. We laugh with and at each other simultaneously. The nature of friendship is such that we know one other’s flaws. Part of the way we cope with them is through laughter. A long time ago, my brother, Rick introduced me to the “courtesy laugh” – a tool I employ with my friends at every opportunity.
Let’s say that you just said something that you thought was absolutely hilarious, but no one else found it to be even remotely funny. This is a ripe occasion for a “courtesy laugh.” One of your very good friends would show you grace by laughing enthusiastically on your behalf, but just as you are enjoying this laugh and beginning to revel in your great sense of humor, your very good friend abruptly stops laughing, changes his expression to one of patronization, and then says, “courtesy laugh.”
The typical response is some very authentic and enthusiastic laughing by all those present, at your expense.
Please note that this is only acceptable within the confines of close friendships – outside of this realm you may suffer unexpected bodily pain.
15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:15-16)
The other day, someone was hurting. Their heart broken. They asked for prayer. I was busy. I whipped out the “courtesy prayer.” Unlike a “courtesy laugh”, the “courtesy prayer” typically never takes place. We promise to pray, but not right now. Unfortunately, we tend to never get around to praying as we promised. The “courtesy prayer” is a pacifier without remedy.
Hi, my name is Herb, and I am a recovering “courtesy pray-er.” I fell off the wagon yesterday.