Dear Christian, you who love the Lord our God and walk in the Light of His Word. The Word who became flesh and lived as a man, among men, to redeem man, and to save man from the second death. The Christ who by offering His body on a cross, as the once for all sacrifice for the sins of the world. I hope you will consider the following.

Remember, the second greatest commandment, to “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”, Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; and James 2:8. This “Love” is the Love of God, the Love that does not tear down, but yet, it builds up the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Love desires only good for our neighbor and all men. Its tongue is led by the Spirit of God, and its fruit, that of righteousness. This Love seeks to be peaceful, kind, gentle, self-controlled, good, and faithful to all men, and in that to our God.

I would guess that most people have been on the receiving end of someone’s attempt to be funny, and that person was picked out to be the punch line of the joke, therefore, making the recipient the joke. Those that make a habit of consistently picking out the same person, don’t realize (or at least I hope not) the message they’re sending. Sadly, many people, even Christians don’t get the message. I can assure you of this one thing, the one made into the punch line received it loud and clear. They were the first to understand the absence of respect and honor and mostly love. Never, is the best time to use a fellow human, especially a Christian of God in Christ, as the punch line of any joke. Especially a joke that belittles the character of the punch line. Christians should absolutely abstain from such uses of their tongue.

The tongue and how it’s used is spoken about frequently in the Word of God. In James 1:26 the Lord teaches the following, “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless”. The context of this passage talks about abiding in the Word of God. It speaks about not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer, and likens it as to keeping one unstained by the world. The entire context of James chapter one is rich with teachings from God as to how we should live. I highly recommend all Christians thoroughly study this chapter and all of God’s Word.

Many people have little control over their tongues and this leads to many offenses. Phrases like “I was only joking”, “I was just joking”, “It was just a joke” or “I was only kidding”. These and the like have no place in the Christian vocabulary. If any one of these has to be given to another as an excuse for the ill use of the offender’s tongue, it should have never been said in the first place.

In James 8:5, God equates the tongue to a small fire that can burn down a great forest. In v.6 He says the tongue is a fire, the world of iniquity, and a member of the body that can defile the entire body. In v8, God says, it’s a restless evil, full of deadly poison. In v.9, He instructs, with it we bless God, and curse men. In v.10, He teaches that things ought not to be this way. The tongue is to bless God and man, and to lift up and not tear down.

Most people are familiar with the phrase, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”. It is used in reference to talking about people. It’s a good rule to live by, and to teach by example. Even in the context of a joke, the wrong words can leave the hearer with a perception of the jokes character. That perception can’t be undone, especially if the so-called joke was spoken in the presence of mere strangers. Much more, in the presence of hearers that are prone to gossip and slander. It also shines a dim light on the character of the one telling the ill advised joke.

God teaches His people to be loving and kind in all of our speech and actions. In doing so, we may live quiet and peaceful lives, in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The next time you’re tempted to use a family member, friend, or anyone else as the punch line for your so-called joke, I hope you will consider how great a fire the tongue can set, and what all it can burn down.