Sunday, April 1, 2018

Pity the Fool

Mr. T
This year Easter and April Fools Day land on the same day. While most Christians today will focus on observing the Resurrection, some of them may also participate in various pranks. According to Wikipedia, “April Fools' Day (sometimes called All Fools' Day) is an annual celebration in some European and Western countries commemorated on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes…People playing April Fool jokes often expose their prank by shouting ‘April fool’ at the unfortunate victim(s).”

Is it ever appropriate for believers to joke around like that? Perhaps it’s okay with people you know who have a sense of humor. Occasionally, I see pastors make wisecracks from the pulpit but then quickly clarify to their congregations they are teasing. Sometimes when holding the door open for a friend about to walk inside a church, I’ll say, “We’re all full” and after pausing a second add “…of the Holy Ghost.”

A few days ago, I went to a church where coffee was served in the cafeteria. When I asked for a cup, a woman behind the counter said they ran out. I knew she wasn’t telling the truth because there was a full pot of coffee behind her. A couple of seconds later, this woman admitted she was kidding.

On the other hand, Ephesians 5:4 admonishes us not to be involved in “…foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” The Amplified Bible renders this as “sinful (silly and corrupt) talk.” It also says in Proverbs 26:18-19, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, ‘I was only joking!’”

As someone who got teased a lot during my childhood, I purposely avoid saying and doing things that may be humorous to me but hurt others. A fellow missionary and I like to exchange blonde jokes with each other. Once I shared some of those jokes with a blonde-haired woman at church. She didn’t find them funny at all. I haven’t told her any blonde jokes since.

One thing people shouldn’t joke around with is where they will spend eternity. As actor Mr. T (who is a Christian) might say, “I pity the fool that doesn’t know Jesus.”

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” - Luke 12:20

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