But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. — Eph 5:3,4
Foolish talking – Μωρολογια Scurrility, buffoonery, ridicule, or what tends to expose another to contempt. — Clarke
Nor jesting – Ευτραπελια Artfully turned discourses or words, from εν, well or easily, and τρεπω, I turn; words that can be easily turned to other meanings; double entendres; chaste words which, from their connection, and the manner in which they are used, convey an obscene or offensive meaning. It also means jests, puns, witty sayings, and mountebank repartees of all kinds. — Clarke
The Lord has been dealing with me in using irony, kidding, and exaggeration in my conversation and I would like to share on these points.
Related Article: I Was Only Joking.
Irony — “the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, ‘How nice!’ when I said I had to work all weekend.” — Dictionary.com
Here are four different kinds of irony with examples.
Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, and is not meant to be taken literally.
Example: These books weigh a ton. — Wikipedia: Hyperbole
Sarcasm is stating the opposite of an intended meaning especially in order to sneeringly, slyly, jest or mock a person, situation or thing.
Example: “Do you think the ground is wet?” “No, the ground is completely dry.”
What the second person said implied that the first was asking a stupid question with an obvious answer. — Wikipedia: Sarcasm
Understatement is a form of speech in which a lesser expression is used than what would be expected.
Example: Emperor Hirohito of Japan, discussing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in his first radio broadcast (15 August 1945). Comment: “The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.” — Wikipedia: Understatement
A Rhetorical Question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply.
Example: When a speaker states, “How many times do I have to tell you to stop walking into the house with mud on your shoes?”; no formal answer is expected. — Wikipedia: Rhetorical Question
Hyperbole in many cases, like the example above, is telling a non-truth to make a point. Sarcasm is in almost all cases is a demeaning statement. An Understatement is ready not telling it like it is to make a point, and a Rhetorical Question many times can be seen as cutting and unkind.
I have personally made a decision some time ago, with the help of the Lord, to remove irony from my speech. I have made it a matter of daily prayer and when ever I do use irony in my conversation I retract my statement, if appropriate note the Lord has deal with me about using irony, and then rephrase my statement.
Kidding: to speak or act deceptively in jest; — Dictionary.com: Kidding
I am referring to Kidding as the practice of telling an untruth and then after you have let the statement have its intended effect to tell the person “I was just kidding” or “I was just joshing you” or to say “no not really” with a smile.
Example: “Jim, someone just ran into the back of your car!” Then after a couple of seconds Frank said “just kidding.”
The above is a clear example of being deceptive and lying and doing it in a mean way that could cause some one else grief. This can also be done to a lesser degree and doesn’t have to involve another person.
The practice of kidding should never be once named among those that profess the name of Christ. The Bible is pretty clear about being deceptive and puts foolish talking and jesting together with fithiness (Eph 5:4).
I thought I pretty well had this stamped out of my conversation and up it popped about a month ago. I was so shocked that I used it this type of speech that I didn’t even correct it. Just as in irony if I use this type of speech I have made a commitment to retract my statement, if appropriate note the Lord has deal with me about using irony, and then rephrase my statement.
One of the things that has helped me to see how bad an example this practice is, was to sit under a Pastor for a number of years that would do this quite often. I would shake my head in disbelief whenever he would do it but then I caught myself doing it. I have found it to be a great help to see my own faults in others to help me get a hold of how bad an example some things are.
Exaggerate: to magnify beyond the limits of truth; overstate; represent disproportionately: to exaggerate the difficulties of a situation. — Dictionary.com: Exaggerate
Embellish: to enhance (a statement or narrative) with fictitious additions. — Dictionary.com: Embellish
The practice of exaggerating and embellishing can be an easy practice for some Christians to fall into. Some tend to be the story telling type and they seem to just naturally tend to embellish. But it is a practice that as children of light we must put off completely.
Personally I have taken a real close look at my conversation in this regard and have made a number of corrections. I used to tell people I had done three years in jail and when I calculated it out it was more like around two. I used to tell people I lived on the street for 15 years but when I thought about it I realized it was more like around 4 or 5 years spread out over 15 or more years. There were even some stories that I had told all my life that when I really thought about them they were not true but I had told them so many times I thought they were true.
While I don’t feel like I was willfully lying I could see that this was not being careful about my conversation. It seems that the practice of irony can lead it kidding, kidding can lead to exaggeration, and exaggeration will if not checked can lead a person into lying.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. –Mat 12:36, 37
When I looked into the above scripture I was a bit surprised in what I found. The context of the above passage is “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Mat 12:34).
On this passage Barnes says “Idle word – This literally means a vain, thoughtless, useless word; a word that accomplishes no good. Here it means, evidently, ‘wicked, injurious, false, malicious, for such’ were the words which they had spoken.” Clarke’s comments on this verse are “Our Lord must be understood here as condemning all false and injurious words: the scope of the place necessarily requires this meaning.”
I had never connected the context of “idle word” to the evil man bringing out of the evil treasure of his heart evil things. Even though this scripture appears to not be dealing with what we would normally think of as idle words we need to have a carefulness in our speech.
April Fools’ Jokes
April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies and neighbors, or sending them on fools’ errands, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. — Wikipedia: April Fool’s Day
I call this Liar’s Day. In most cases the jokes are just an out right lie. This is the worlds way to raise lying children and make the sin of lying an acceptable thing. As Christians we need to be completely clear from this sinful practice and teach our children the seriousness of telling a lie even if it is only as a joke.
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Reaction to this Article
Even as I wrote this article the Lord was dealing with my soul and helping me to see in a greater way the importance of being faithful in the little things and being more careful in my speech. It truly is a beautiful thing when the Lord deals with our soul and gives us a better understanding of how to live as a true Christian.
Now how will you react to this truth? Will you brush it off and excuse yourself and say this is just so much majoring in minors, just more of Bob’s legalism, more bondage. If that has been your reaction as you read this article they you need to examine yourself and see if you are in the faith (2Cor 13:5).
This article should make you more aware of the important of your words. I hope that you have gotten just part of the blessing in reading this article that I have received in writing it.