I love being a Christian. I love thinking about, talking about, and singing about Christ and His church. I love to laugh and have fun with God’s people. I enjoy cutting up with my colleagues. I love to interact with non-Christians. I enjoy clean jokes (and find myself occasionally telling ones that are not as humorous as I once thought). Christians can kindly tease about our favorite football team’s most recent loss or our most embarrassing moments. Indeed, there is “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). After all, “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
As enjoyable as it is to joke around and have fun, and as appropriate as it may be to break the ice with an amusing story, Christians must be careful that we don’t make light and joke around about serious, spiritual, eternally important things, especially when such remarks are unnecessarily offensive. Such inappropriate words at inappropriate times can have very unfortunate consequences.
I was 17 years old, playing summer-league baseball in Oklahoma, when I had the opportunity to visit and worship with a church one Sunday morning a few hours from home. I had the privilege that day to be accompanied by two friends who were not members of the Lord’s church. They had graciously come with me because I needed a ride to worship, and they volunteered to drive me and stay with me until the close of the worship service. Only a few minutes after walking into the building, however, the mood was severely darkened when a member of that church greeted us with a joke about some individuals he knew from our hometown who were of a different religion—with the emphasis being on their religion. It just so happened, the two individuals with me that morning were of that same religious persuasion….
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