Spoken immorality never leads in the right direction. That’s not to say that everyone who jokes in an ungodly manner winds up in sexual immorality, of course. It’s simply to say that letting our guard down at one level makes it easier to let it down at the next level.
Several months ago, I wrote on why how we talk as believers matters. I’ve hesitated since then writing this follow-up post, primarily because I risk coming across as judgmental and arrogant with these words. On the other hand, I write these very words because I, too, could easily fall into the trap of ungodly speech – and I must daily remember these truths myself. Here’s why we must fight for holiness in our joking:
- The Bible demands it. The apostle Paul gave us this mandate with decided clarity: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph 5:4). Double-entendres and indecent language have no place among believers.
- Our jokes betray our heart. Culture may affirm crude jokes, but culture is not their origin. The human heart is. Your heart is. My heart is.
- Crude jokes usually demand closed doors and quiet whispers. That reality itself ought to give us pause. We who are called to announce the gospel miss the point completely when we find ourselves instead quietly telling our jokes.
- Such joking promotes a distorted understanding of Christian brotherhood (and sisterhood).