Jokes and funny stories are a great way to connect with people and friends. We love sharing and joking around with each other. Whether it is the lame puns we might have, funny stories or banter, people always love a good laugh.
Between good friends, we take it up a notch and proceed to bantering and trying to “roast” each other through jokes or in-phrases, usually related to someone’s habits, interests, history or personality.
Online and in social media, we even share “memes” with each other which is normally an image from movies or pop culture and accompany it with a caption that is short, sharp and sweet conveying simple observations which are funny.
Should there be limits to our jokes, banter and memes?
Bantering for fun
How does a banter competition start? Normally it is from a small joke mentioned by one person to lighten a conversation. From there, others may respond and build upon it.
For example, it might be trying to “help” a friend by setting them up with someone of the opposite sex. It might start with someone asking another person what they think of a person they may have interest in. From there, depending on the size of the group, it builds up to people scheming to help set them up with another (jokingly of course, nothing really eventuates from it).
On the surface, it might be fun and innocent, but at the same time, we may not know the entire context in which we are delivering that banter. It might be that the friend may have asked that person out, but it did not work out, or that they are going through with a difficult time at work or at home and are not in the mood to take a joke.
Does this mean we cannot banter or tell jokes at all?
Fruitful conversation and encouragement
With regards to how our conversations should be with each other, the Bible tells us that we should be “speaking the truth in love” in order to build each other up in love. (Ephesians chapter 4, verses 15 to 16). As Christians we are ambassadors of God to proclaim Jesus Christ as risen and Lord of all. Additionally, we are called by God to persevere in the faith despite trials and continuously encourage one another with our words (and actions) in living our lives here on earth. (Hebrews chapter 10, verses 19 to 25).
The Bible also warns us of the danger in our choice of words as the tongue can be a force to be reckoned with. The letter of James talks of the idea of “taming the tongue” and describes it as being “a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body of one’s life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James chapter 3, verses 5 to 12). James reminds us that we should be aiming to tame our speech and that our speech shouldn’t be used for both good and evil.
What does this mean for us? When we do speak with each other, joke with each other and banter, we need to exercise wisdom in our choice of words and our approach to how sharp or “spicy” our words and memes can be to each other.
This might mean that whilst in the midst of conversation, sometimes we may think of a joke or a line which might be the most hilarious thing to say. It might mean in order to be more helpful and encouraging to our brothers and sisters in Christ we either tone down the joke or sometimes it is better to not say it at all!
Brandon Tsang is a Sydney-based writer currently working in IT. He studied Marketing and Economics at UNSW and loves to spend his spare time hiking, playing volleyball or watching Netflix.
Brandon Tsang’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/brandon-tsang.html