Lyrics in an old Billy Joel song say, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun…” I never cared for the lyrics of that song but that part of the lyrics has always stuck with me. It defines a great dichotomy of life: Laugh with the sinners or cry with the saints.
There are many situations we could substitute in the lyric, for there are many things that are much more fun to do on the sinner side of the ledger than the saint side. Again though, that is what defines us. It defines us each time we choose to take the socially acceptable, popular, politically correct, or wrong turns in life rather than do what is right or righteous. It will always make us more popular to go with the crowd than to do right, as it will always make us seem more pleasant to compromise than to stand firm in truth. Further, it seems that greater the risk involved then greater the potential for fun, even though sitting back doing nothing is more fun that fighting the good fight.
While the proud sinner and humble saint alike enjoy fun and a good time, it’s the type of fun and the timing of the fun which identifies us. Irresponsibility along with ethical and moral compromise is the path which leads to misplaced fun. Our desire for fun or to live a stress free life should never trump what is right, good, and honorable. Many of the grave issues facing our families and nation today are borne of an unwillingness to fight the good fight…seeking what is fun and comfortable instead. Yet, there is one thing that puts the kibosh on all the fun and outward peace. That is crisis. When a major health concern, relationship disaster, legal problem, financial situation, or other significant misfortune hits, we aren’t so focused on having our own kind of fun. We go into a survival mode in which we wish we had a little better relationship with the Lord and were more in touch with our saintly side.
Perhaps we’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, but woe is us if we need a crisis to get our perspective back to where it needs to be.