Last week we explored how humor and joking has changed in the past decade to be a lot less offensive than in the past. Words have power. If you want to tell jokes, it's important to take responsibility for your words, and use them in the best way possible. Here is how to tell jokes that uplift others, and cause smiles instead of tears.
Making jokes at other people's expense is not what Christians should do. However, at times, there are acceptable targets. For example, when Jesus called King Herod “that fox” he associated someone who wanted to be perceived kingly like a lion, but rather used a fox who lacks real power and dignity and uses deceit to achieve his aims.
However, even Jesus misses the mark from time to time – a Canaanite woman came to ask Jesus to cure her daughter. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment (Matthew 15:21-28).
There are certain jokes that will more generally upset people and which you should avoid, topics include: sex, politics, death, stereotypes, putting people down, harming animals or people.
Context for joking is also important – jokes about divorce might be acceptable in a group of divorced people, but not at a wedding.
Ask yourself if it will add anything good to the world. Will your joke be well-received? Will it cause genuine smiles, or could it cause pain? A good joke makes the world a happier place for everyone.
Humor that pokes fun in good taste can be found at “the Onion” – in the aftermath of 9/11 they printed the following headlines “U.S. Vows to Defeat Whoever It Is We’re at War With,” “Hijackers Surprised to Find Selves in Hell – We Expected Eternal Paradise for This Say Suicide Bombers” and the touching “Hugging up 76,000 percent.” Recent Onion humor says “Desperate Biden Announces Halloween Will Now Happen Every Month” – Biden says “Let’s everybody stop worrying about gas…”
When does a joke become a dad joke?
When the punchline is apparent.
Rev. Curtis Ehrgott