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Sometimes, joking can be hurtful.  If we find pleasure in embarrassing someone or hurting someone’s feelings with our jokes, then we can say that that would be sin.  There is a certain benefit to laughter and being cheerful.  Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  However, when our jokes are filled with degrading remarks or filth, these dishonor the Lord.

Let’s consider the words of Ephesians 5:3-4, “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.”  Let’s read these verses from the NIV translation, which may help make the meaning a little clearer.  That says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”  Along with obvious sins such as fornication and covetousness, we also learn here that we need to avoid things such as obscenity, foolish talking and coarse, or dirty, jokes.  We should never try to find humor in things that are contrary to God’s Word.  How can we laugh at things such as adultery when it is such a serious sin?  How can it be proper for a Christian to use coarse language or tell jokes that are R or X rated?  As we just read, “Let it not be once named among you.”

There is power and healing that is found in laughter.  Sometimes a funny story or amusing observation can be helpful when talking to others.  We just need to make sure that we are sensitive to what is proper and improper.  As believers, we do not want to be known as being foolish or as being buffoons.  Humor is good in its place and the right amount of humor can be helpful, as long as it doesn’t define us and as long as it is not obscene, hurtful, or dishonoring to the Lord.  (115.6)