How do you feel about practical jokes? I don’t like them. I’ve heard of people putting Nair in their boyfriend’s shampoo bottle, or putting glue on their baseball caps, things that can cause real harm and certainly real embarrassment. If each person insists on getting the better of the other, the jokes only escalate. Where do they end? Perhaps only when someone gets severely hurt.
A similar thing can happen with our words. People seem to think that it’s okay to insult, lie to or make fun of each other, as long as afterward they say that they were only kidding. This is such a common practice that in social media circles, all that is needed is “jk”. Sometimes the one doing the joking makes the other feel like they are in the wrong, that they are boring and have no sense of humour. Proverbs 26:18-19 says that someone who deceives another, and then says that they are just kidding is like a madman who shoots flaming or deadly arrows. A madman shooting deadly arrows. That’s a pretty serious analogy. So much for just kidding.
Matthew Henry has said, “By lying and slandering in jest men learn themselves, and teach others, to lie and slander in earnest; and a false report, raised in mirth, may be spread in malice; besides, if a man may tell a lie to make himself merry, why not to make himself rich, and so truth quite perishes, and men teach their tongues to tell lies, Jeremiah 9:5. If men would consider that a lie comes from the devil, and brings to hell-fire, surely that would spoil the sport of it; it is casting arrows and death to themselves.” [Emphasis his.]
I think our society has come to the place where we don’t understand the value of truth or the power of our words. According to Proverbs 18:21, death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love its use will eat its fruit. James tells us that our tongue will determine our direction just as a rudder steers a ship (James 3:4-5) and that what comes out of our mouths represents who we really are. (James 3:8-11)
Who are you really? Who do you want to be? Make sure that your tongue is leading you in the right direction.