As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? ~ Proverbs 26:18-19
I love to laugh. I love hearing funny stories and sharing them. But this passage reminded me today that you can have too much of a good thing. While I love laughing, I do not enjoy a joke which is at the expense of another. Practical jokes or jokes which humiliate someone, is what this passage is about. I quote Charles Bridges’ wise words:
“How little does the thoughtless man consider the misery, which his wantonness occasions to others! He bears no malice. He indulges on the pure love of mischief. He carries on a scheme of imposition as harmless play. His companions compliment him upon his adroitness, and join in the laugh of triumph over the victim of his cruel jest. What the man calls ‘sport’ is the ‘madman’, scattering murderous mischief – firebrands, arrows and death. What are smoothly called ‘practical jokes’. . . come under this awful charge.”
When we purposely deceive someone in order to tell a joke, does this remove our deception? No, it just makes the deception look cute. It seems excusable because it puts a smile on a few faces, but what about the one who has been deceived? Could their smile be forced? Could their smile be a way to hide the hurt and embarrassment they are feeling? It is likely.
Let the joker beware: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galatians 6:7