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.