Can ‘Joking’ be Sinful?

Humor at the first Northfield Conference:

“Many were the interesting experiences belonging to the first Northfield conference called by D. L. Moody. One especially shows Mr. Moody himself in his varying phases. It was the conversation hour at noon, and about a hundred men were sitting under the tent on Round Top.

Mr. Moody, leaning sturdily against the tent-pole, led the meeting. Suddenly there came from him the plump question, “Brethren, how many of you have so grown in grace that you can bear to have your faults told?”

Many hands went up. Quick as a flash, but neither sharply nor insultingly, Mr. Moody turned to a young minister, and said:

“Brother, you have spoken thirteen times in twelve days here, and perhaps shut out twelve other good men from speaking.”

It was true. The young man had been presuming and officious. He had held up his hand, but he could not bear to be chidden; and now he stoutly defended himself, only making matters worse. Then another minister broke forth, and berated Mr. Moody for his bluntness. The latter blushed, but listened until the reproof was done. Then he suggestively covered his face, and spoke through his fingers:

“Brethren, I admit the fault my friend charges me with; but, I did not hold up my hand!”–Quoted from the book titled Masterpieces of Wit and Humor; By Dr. Robert Jones Burdette; “The world renowned Preacher-Humorist”; 1903.

Can joking, being deceptivewittiness, flattering, humor and trickery be sinful? Is joking lying? What is “the wink of an eye“? Got Questions?⇒ Is joking a sin? What about pranks?

What is inappropriate humor?

  • “We must always remember the power of the tongue and realize that the tongue can destroy lives, and break hearts to the point of no repair. Always be cautious, and don’t allow Satan to do his work by your spoken words.”–Rev. Ricky L. Doan; 1971-2018. (Proverbs 18:21)
  • Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Corinthians 13:5
  • “Watch your words, keep your mouth, bridle your tongue, and examine your heart. It is as hard a task for some men to say what they ought, as it is for others not to say more than they ought.”–William Jackson; 1841.
  • Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? Job 15:2
  • Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Titus 2:8
  • It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom. Proverbs 10:23
  • Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly. Proverbs 15:21
  • So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? Proverbs 26:19
  • Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:4
  • Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.¹  Ephesians 4:29

Commentary re: Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth. Not pagans only, but some of whom better things might be expected, need this charge. How revolting is the tendency in some circles to foul and blasphemous conversation; to profane and obscene jests, songs, and allusions: to feed as it were on moral garbage! From Christian mouths no such word should ever issue – it is simply abominable. But that which is good for improvement of the occasion, that it may give grace to them that hear. Speaking should ever bear on improvement or edification, especially on turning passing things to good account. This should be the aim; it does not require speaking to be uniformly grave, but to have an object. It may be quite right to have an enlivening object, but among Christians it should always be such as befits their profession, and tends to help on the exalted objects at which they aim.”–Pulpit Commentary. ¹

“He that sins in jest, must repent in earnest, or his sin will be his ruin.”–Matthew Henry.