We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Not A Joking Matter

Not a Joking Matter

Once, I received a humorous email from a friend that made me laugh so hard that it brought me to tears. So I sent the story to my brother-in-law and my two adult boys.

My youngest son replied, “What’s this?” Deep inside, there was a still small voice telling me that something was wrong. You see, the humorous story had one crude remark. The story was quite harmless, but my youngest son was letting me know that he had higher expectations for me.

But I drowned out the voice of conviction. After all, most of my family had been prodding me for years to lighten up. But then I received an email from my sister-in-law who had read the story before her husband. She wrote simply, “Great story, pastor Hamby.” Seeing the title “pastor” in the address I could tell that she did not approve. Still, I wasn’t willing to let her rule my conscience . . . the story was no big deal, and besides, her husband would get a good laugh.

Then I received another letter–not an email–from a man named Paul. He was writing to a group of believers who had not understood the cancerous effects of crude joking. This is what he wrote: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4). God had convicted me and I realized that he was calling me to repentance and holiness.

The world desperately wants us to join in on superficial fun that robs us of eternal joy. That joy can only come to the pure in heart, for it is the pure in heart who see God, as well as the incredible life He’s planned for us!

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