Jun 05

Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.”
– Pr 26:18-19 NLT

I am amazed by the number of spiritual-minded Christians who will tell a lie and then a bit later say “I was only joking”, or “I was only fooling”, or “No, not really”, or “I was only kidding”. Even my ex-pastor from the Restoration used to do this.

This practice, which comes from the world, has infected good Bible believers everywhere. It is the brother of the April Fool’s joke, where a person tells a lie but doesn’t need to ever correct it.

The interesting thing is that we have a verse in Proverbs that directly speaks against this practice. While it is a bit obscure in the KJV — “am I not sport”, it is very plain in most modern translation. Let me list a few of them for you.

So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?” –Pr 26:18-19 NASB
Is a man that deceives his neighbor and says, I was only joking. –Pr 26:18-19 NIV

So is the man who deceives his neighbor and then says, Was I not joking? –Pr 26:18-19 AMP

Is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” –Pr 26:18-19 ESV

Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “I was only joking!” –Pr 26:18-19 NKJV

Is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.” –Pr 26:18-19 NLT

Related Article: Neither Foolish Talking nor Jesting.

This worldly practice has been devised by the devil to train people to become full-blown liars. After Satan gets people comfortable with the madman practice of joke-lying and then correcting their lies with a “just joking”, the next step is to just leave off the “I was joking” part.

Christian parents many time are responsible for not only infecting their own children, but also the children of others in the congregation, with this joke-lying.

So here are some pointers on getting free from this anti-scriptural practice.

1. Go to prayer and repent for this practice and ask the Lord for grace to stop it.

2. Share with your spouse, children, and other committed Christians what the Lord has shown you concerning joke-lying.

3. When you catch yourself joke-lying in the future, apologize and correct yourself right away. Then if possible, excuse yourself and go to prayer and ask the Lord to help you get free from this practice completely.

If you think this article is overboard, you need to examine your heart in prayer concerning the proper esteem you need to have for the Word of God.

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4 Responses to “I Was Only Joking”

  1. 1. Primitive Christianity Says:

    Thanks, Bob, for this. I feel that I have slipped backwards in this area, even though I do not say “I was only joking”, I think that many times I assume the person will understand that I am “half-joking”. But this is just one step in the wrong direction from simple, plain honesty. Mike

  2. 2. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Let me know what you think of Neither Foolish Talking Nor Jesting. I am still wondering if it is overboard in some areas?

  3. 3. Primitive Christianity Says:

    Hello, Bob:
    There are a few people who seem to think that any smile or laughter must be necessarily evil, but by far more people are in the other ditch of foolish talking.
    To me, the whole point is about WHO is getting the attention, and WHY we make funny comments. Usually foolish talking brings attention to the person who cracked the joke, and that is often the reason they told it: to draw attention to him/herself.
    To relate a humorous incident to teach a lesson is not evil, but to tell it just to make everyone laugh or to see who can come up with the funniest story is not really edifying.
    These are just a couple of my thoughts on using some discernment about the use of irony or of humorous incidents.
    One thing I noticed once is a missionary that joked with a lady, and then tried to witness of Christ to her. He said the joking was a good way to “get on a person’s good side”. Well, it seemed to me that he led her down the road of taking life real lightly and then tried to suddenly throw out the reality of the seriousness of eternity to her. Somehow that didnt seem like a good approach, to me. Kind of like driving down the highway at full speed limit and suddenly doing a U-turn. Mike

  4. 4. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Mike,

    I don’t have a problem with smiling or laughter and do lots of both myself.

    While I am not much for telling jokes I don’t look down on those who do. I am not sure of the motives of those that tell a lot of jokes and I am not going to judge the motive of their heart.

    I am very much against joking in the pulpit and I find it very distasteful.

    All in all God did give us a humorous side when he made us.

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