Recent comments, both on and off pleo, have revived major concerns for the content of some blogs and resulting comments. Have we forgotten how to blush? Have we gotten so involved with trying to be FUNNY that we don’t realize how hurtful and/or how close to the gutter our “joking” becomes? Sarcasm and questionable joking CAN be funny, but it can also be dangerously close to gutter talk and can be hurtful to your reader and to your influence.
In any case, misuse of humor and sarcasm can damage our influence for good. James warns, ”Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (3:10). It’s hard to accept admonitions or encouragement for things that are right and good when they come from someone who has five minutes ago made a suggestive or sarcastic comment on his/her blog or on another’s blog. Recent readings on pleo have prompted me to revisit a posting I put on a group discussion some time ago. I’d like to repost it here with some editing for our consideration. Some concrete suggestions will follow.
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But I Was Just Kidding Around
How often have you heard that you need to watch what you say, when you say it, where you say it? Our words, both written and oral, say a great deal about us. We need to realize that we’re not only speaking to our husbands, our wives, our families, or our friends, but that others within hearing (or reading) distance are also “hearing” us and coming to a conclusion about what kind of person, what kind of Christian we are. This is true when we are expounding on great truths of the Bible, when we are giving consolation, encouragement, and advice to one another, when we are just “joking around” with our friends and/or family. Jesus cautioned in Matthew 12:34-37: ”For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
What do our flip remarks, comments to each other, about one another, etc. tell our hearers (more specifically those who read our words here on pleonast) about us as Christians? As writers on pleonast we need to realize that this is a public, open forum. We do not know who is reading what we write – is it someone from the world who might applaud our verbal foray into the slang or coarse jesting of the day? Is it a young Christian who might be looking to us outside of pleonast as examples of maturing Christians? Is it an older Christian whose slang vocabulary has not “caught up” with the increasingly earthy nature of today’s slang and whose perception of you as a Christian, father/mother, preacher/preacher’s wife, elder/deacon or elder’s/deacon’s wife (or future elder/deacon or elder’s/deacon’s wife) might be colored in a negative way by what he or she reads in this forum? Will our words reflect badly not only on ourselves but on our God, on Christ and His church, on our husbands, on our wives, on our children whose reputations we also need to guard?
So much of the New Testament deals with the tongue, our speech, etc. Paul cautions new Christians in Ephesians 4:29, ”Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” When we unthinkingly subscribe to slang and suggestive joking, are we allowing corrupt words to proceed out of our mouths? Is such talk/writing good for edification – does it build up or tear down?
Paul continues in Ephesians 5:1-4 to admonish us to ”be imitators of God as dear children”; and one of the things that is ”not even [to be] named among you, as is fitting for the saints” is ”foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting.”
In considering this topic we might want to consider the following questions:
1) What does “fitting” (NKJV) or “convenient” (KJV) mean in relation to what we say (Ephesians 5:4)?
2) What implied message do our words send in addition to the actual words themselves?
3) Does it matter what others think of us based on the words that we use? Why or why not?
4) Is it only unknown pleo readers who might misunderstand our motive and message? Who else is “hearing” what we’re saying – would we talk like this in front of Him? (We are, whether we realize it or not.)
5) Can we justify ourselves by saying, “I was only kidding”?
6) Finally, let’s consider our words in terms of Philippians 4:8 – are they true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report?
I would encourage all of us to look at our blogs and evaluate their contents.
1) Does it contain entries or comments that should cause you to blush?
2) Would you be ashamed for your child or your parents to read it? Would you be ashamed for your congregation’s elders to read it? Would you talk this way in front of your elders, children, parents, etc.?
3) Do some other people’s comments on your blog cause you to blush? That little [x] at the end of the comment allows YOU to CONTROL what is on your blog. Delete these comments that you deem inappropriate as soon as you see them.
4) Check out your friends list and edit it periodically. Include friends that you wouldn’t mind others surfing to as a result of finding them on your blog. If you have a friend whose blog regularly contains offensive content, don’t indirectly refer others to that blog.__________________________________________
I have been embarrassed -- sometimes angered and increasingly disappointed -- lately at some of the things I’ve been reading on pleo – particularly from people who should know better.
It makes me want to thank those of you who consistently blog responsibly, who know how to be funny without being offensive, who are consistent sources of encouragement and support of things that are good, who are humble enough to seek support and counsel when you need it, and who have encouraged and supported me in my daily walk.
be_with_me_lord This post is always encouraging and a good reminder of who we need to be, thanks Eva! [x]
heatheronthehill thank you for sharing your wisdom - we all need this reminder! [x]
missy Thank you for posting those thoughts on your blog!
Thanks for your kind words regarding my blog, too! [x]
mattdevore Thanks for the helpful reminder, Eva. [x]
puppymaster Thank you. [x]
kiss_the_rain Amen! Thanks for the great thoughts! [x]
sararschick Very well said! Thank you so much for the reminder. :) [x]
christinadixon Thanks for the encouraging words! We are studying James 3 this Sunday. Do you mind if I use some of your points? :) [x]
christinadixon Sometimes I think we adults need to sing the "children's" song "Oh Be Careful..." little eyes, little ears, little mouth, little feet, little hands. [x]
split_rock Absolutely! We sometimes get so carried away with our fun that we forget who we are. [x]
spookbrat Funny I should stumble upon your comments because we are dealing with this very subject right now at home and at church...blushing...and not making mean jokes, etc. I'm going to print this out and share it with the older kids at church. [x]
spookbrat And BTW, thank you for posting your thoughts. Kind regards. [x]
spookbrat "Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor and says I was only joking." Proverbs 26:18-19 [x]
suzyhomemaker This reminds me of our ladies class last week. Our ladies class this time has to do with the tongue. I have seen it so much in the last few months where members of the church use profanities and euphamisms like they would every day words. Even words that are meant to describe sin, they use as a compliment. I just dont know how to refute that sometimes because I know they should know better. We get caught up so much in trying to be like the world that we forget that we are supposed to be set apart. [x]
mjintexas Good thoughts.... and good reminders. Thanks. [x]
be_with_me_lord Thanks for all your comments and encouragement, it always makes me feel better :) [x]
sarahphim Good thoughts...thanks so much! [x]
electric_weazel great thoughts--thanks! [x]
my3sons Amen sister! Thanks so much for your wonderful comments! [x]
mattmanua You couldn't be more right. I have often felt the same way. Living outside the US as I do, this is my way of still being around American christians. But I must say I have been greatly dissapointed in what some others choose to display publicly... I had to take someone off my friend's list just today. [x]
meg What great, important comments. I love reading your blogs, Eva! And I'm glad you enjoyed the apple! I tasted one for the first time this year, too (right before I bought 1/2 bushels!) [x]