How many times have you heard a mean or sarcastic remark? But then you hear, “I was only joking!” It’s as if that gives license to say anything. Or it puts you in the defense seat and demands that you not only feel the shame of the remark, but that there is something wrong with you, because you felt the sting.

Hear me, “I was only joking!” isn’t a get-out-of-rudeness-free card. Actually, the Bible frowns on it pretty heavily.

“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own. Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!’” Proverbs 26:17-19

Did you see the neighborhood that remark lives in?

It’s the place where people live who think it’s a good idea to grab a stray dog by the ears. Think about that one.

Or someone who rushes into the middle of a quarrel that they have no right to enter.

Or they shoot flaming arrows of death.

This is not the place to live.

Here’s the wisdom:

Speak kindly.

Be respectful.

Don’t escalate fights by joining in.

Shooting flaming arrows, like a maniac, leads to death.

Take these words to heart. There’s a lot of very deep insight here.

Lord, I want to thank You that You address everything we need to live successfully. Lord, You are amazing.

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