Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Proverbs 26:18-19 But I was joking!

18 Like a maniac shooting
    flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”

Can't you take a joke?

Have these words been directed at you before? Or, have you said that to someone?

We need to be careful! There is a fine line between what we call joking, and what is called "jesting."  Jesting is making sport of someone else --- making others laugh at this person's expense --- mocking them, or joking about the situation they find themselves in . . . anybody besides me getting uncomfortable here? It's not that I do these things, but if I'm in a group setting and this is happening, what is my response? Do I try to stop the behavior before it hurts someone, or am I a passive spectator?

I believe that as Christians, we need to defuse situations like this, by turning the conversation to another topic, or even trying to kindly remind the speaker that those words may be quite hurtful. Jesting is even compared to sins like sexual impurity, jealousy and other immoralities. (Just check out Ephesians 5:3-4)

We hear a great deal these days in the news about children and teens who bully one another. Bullying usually begins with a joke or jest at someone's expense, then goes further.  I think this proverb is talking about pranks and practical jokes, too. Those are not good ideas! You can never be sure what your "victim" is thinking. What have they been going through? What are they thinking? Have they recently been hit with a heavy burden? Are they in pain from a family matter, or some other weight that has them depressed? A practical joke can backfire and cause a world of trouble . . . and then the jokester says, "I was only joking!"

Solomon tells us that if we are jesting and deceiving someone, we are just like that insane person who lights a flaming arrow and shoots it into a barn, and then when caught, says, "I was just having some fun with you! Can't you take a joke?"
Let's determine that not only will we avoid shooting the flaming arrows, but that we will be ready to douse the flames, if someone else is doing the shooting!


Belinda said...

I have never liked practical jokes, nor the party games where someone winds up being laughed at or made fun of. I've been in that position and I never wanted to repeat it, so I seldom ever accept an invitation to a party where games are on the agenda. It's so humiliating and really feels bad to be that person. I don't normally laugh at someone else's expense unless he/she is having fun with it too, and even then I step lightly.

I constantly take up for my mother-in-law because my father-in-law is always trying to pick at her, make fun of her, and criticize her in front of us. He likes the attention he gets from doing it. I just continue to tell him not to say that, not to make fun of her, be good to her. But you know, some folks just don't hear you or pay attention if they do. :/

CATachresis said...

I remember to my shame taking part in things like this when I was at school! I so much wanted to be part of the “gang" that I would join in cruel jesting of some other poor unfortunate who was to be the butt that day, just so’sI wouldn’t be picked on! ! Maybe because of that or because I have been convicted of it, these days I cannot bear to witness it at all and will always, or nearly always, speak up. It happens a lot on the internet on the (un)social networking sites among the young! :(