OceanSide church of Christ
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by: Dalton Gilreath
There are many sins Christians can feel confident they will never commit. Most would never murder, commit adultery, steal, or even curse. But some sins are much easier to commit than others. In fact, they might be so easy that we don’t even recognize we are sinning against God. This would especially be true of sins of the mind and sins of the tongue. For example, consider the sin of jesting (KJV) or crude joking (as the ESV renders the same term):
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting [crude joking ESV], which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Eph 5:4
Everyone loves to laugh and to joke with one another. And certainly there is nothing wrong with a clean, funny story. However, it can be easy for those jokes to go too far as we desire to produce a good laugh. At that moment our joke has become a jest.
Jesting is when one’s words begin to fall short of morality. When jokes begin to reference sin in a positive light, have inappropriate innuendos, or are at the expense of another, they have gone from being pure to being unclean. Notice that Paul places this sin in a list alongside fornication and covetousness. While it may seem small in our eyes, we must consider how it appears through the eyes of our Lord. He is disgusted by it and desires that we avoid it altogether. We must always consider the content of our jokes and general speech. We may not be tempted to say something immoral around Christians, but the rules need to apply around our secular employees, friends, and family as well. After all, we must remember that Jesus is going to judge “every idle word” that we speak (Matt 12:36).