That’s Not Funny: Dirty Jokes and Jesus

by Spencer Harmon
by Spencer Harmon

What you laugh about says a lot about you.

Most of the world is laughing at things they should be crying about .  They are inviting you to join them.  The Bible teaches that marriage should be honored, and that people shouldn’t defile the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4), yet the marriage bed is scorned on the silver screen during countless scenes of fornication that are seen as humorous.  Adultery is inane, blasphemy is a gag, and sin is joke, and they want you to start laughing.

To compound the problem, many of us find ourselves confused about the types of things we should be joking about.  You know the situation, right?  You’re with a group of friends, and someone tells that border line joke, and everyone nervously chuckles and shifts their eyes towards everyone else to make sure it’s OK to laugh.  Your conscience is pricked, and you (and everyone else in the group, for that matter) know you shouldn’t be laughing.  How should we think about this?

Jesus wants to be Lord over your laughing, and he inspired Ephesians 5 to show us the way. Here are a few things to keep in mind about crude humor, filthy talk, and sexual immorality as you engage in conversations and entertainment:

It’s improper.  You were not made to indulge in any type of sexual immorality.  Paul tells these people that sexual immorality and impurity, “should not even be named among you, as is proper among saints”.  Like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet all day long, indulging in impurity throughout the day doesn’t fit with believers that are indwelt by the Spirit.  Why would we let these things have a name among us when these are the very things that Jesus bled for?  It’s improper among Jesus’ cleansed bride.

It closes up the kingdom.  If you indulge in sexual immorality for the rest of your days, you won’t go to heaven.  Paul tells us that you can be sure of it.  The raunchy joke on your favorite show may be drained of its humor if you see it as something that is a roadblock to heaven.  Yes, Jesus died for all of your sins and every stumbling into impurity, but Jesus also died so that you would be set free from the power of sin (Romans 6), and that you would be delivered from this present evil age (Galatians 1:4).  Paul is warning Christians that if they are sexually immoral they will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is damned.  When we laugh at sexual immorality, we are laughing about things that people are being punished for in hell.  Paul tells the Christians that because of sexual immorality and impurity the wrath of God is coming.  The picture painted for us by the world around us is opposite.  Explicit sexual immorality is not that big of a deal, and it’s easy to be numbed and carried by the current of laxity in regards to this type of humor and joking.  This is why we need the truth of Scripture to wake us up to the reality of sin and kick us in the pants to start swimming against the tide.  Paul tells us not to be “deceived”.  How easy it is so consume the view of the world around us without exposing it for what it is.

You were made for so much more.  Finally, crude joking just isn’t that funny.  When viewed through the lens of Scripture and brought under Jesus kingship, we begin to see these types of jokes as simply out of place.  Filthy talk and crude joking is nothing but a counterfeit joy that will give you the temporary buzz of laughter.  What Jesus calls Christians to is something much more durable and long lasting: thanksgiving.  You were not made to laugh at sex-scenes in movies and make line-bending jokes; you were made to experience the heart-bursting, pure thrill of thanksgiving.  The next time you are tempted to talk filthy or crudely joke, replace those thoughts and words with thankfulness.  Your joy will be compounded, your community enriched, and soul refreshed.  You were made for so much more.

It would be easy at this point to nuance all of my words with qualifications and exceptions and warnings about being legalistic towards others.  There are people who have over-corrected and think that God loves them based on their humor. However, I believe that what I need more than anything is Paul’s straight talk about my mouth rather than definitions about where the line is when it comes to my humor.  As we seek to bring even our laughter and humor under Jesus’ rule, let each of us live as those who will give an account for every word – and joke – we speak.   There are better things to laugh at, and better gifts to be enjoyed.

6 thoughts on “That’s Not Funny: Dirty Jokes and Jesus

  1. Love this post. These are words that everyone needs to hear. But its something I personally struggle with. As a college student, these conversationsions surround my life. My roommate would probably be the most crude of all. I manage to speak my mind the majority of the time, but I find myself slipping back into my pre-Christian self sometimes and laugh right along with them. It terrifies me. I’m not quite sure how to deal with it either. Should I actively avoid these people, or should I work on maintaining integrity in conversations?

  2. I just randomly came across this page on the Internet and I think this is a bit extreme. Laughing, jokes, comedy are all things that make people happy. What’s the point in worrying about going to heaven or hell when you die if you can’t have a fun and happy life? I doubt God care that much about what you laugh about rather than who you are as a person. Laughing at a good joke is a part of life and having fun with others. Please don’t ignore someone because they laugh at something you don’t agree with, that’s being rude. The bible teaches you to be kind towards others, so remember that when you look down on someone else.

    1. Are you sure that is what the bible teaches? Our aim is not to offend others but to live righteously. If that offends people then perhaps that a sign that they are convicted by their actions. God expect holiness which means that we are to set apart and not conform to the way the world does things. [Romans 12:2] Jesus didn’t see it as a laughing matter when he overthrew the tables of the money changers…so we cannot afford to have such a casual view on sin.

      What is more important, God’s perspective of sin or compromising our faith in order to fit in with others. [Gal 1:10] We are to be God pleasers rather than men pleasers. Laughter is good for the soul [Proverbs 17:22]. However, how can we say that laughing at crude jokes reflects the character of God that we now have when we come to Christ. It also affects our witness. I know a Christian who non-Christians laugh with yet behind her back call her a hypocrite. We are doing no one favours by trying to blend in. I not saying thumb someone on the head with a bible but shy away from these conversations. In any event, here are a few scriptures and there are plenty more on speech.

      Eph 5:4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
      Col 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
      Col 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
      Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    2. This is the sort of relativism that scars peoples’ spiritual lives. Always ask this question before doing anything, does it feel good or does it do good? Laughing is a way expend your stress, but don’t do it at the expense of your eternity. Joking about sin is a very bad thing, especially sex, as it is so potent now. You can joke about plenty of other things that don’t have to do anything with sin. Joke about those things.

    3. Living a Christian life is a bit extreme. You are right when you say laughing, jokes, and comedy are all things that make people happy. I absolutely do not believe that the only way you can laugh and be happy is through crude jokes (laughing at sin).

      Living a life surrendered to Jesus means you do conform to this world, but you are transformed by the renewing of your mind. That renewal of mind is the continual transformation into a heart and mind more like Jesus (sanctification). We are not supposed to be amused by the sinful jokes in the fallen world we live in, but we are supposed to mourn for all those souls that do not know Jesus. The Kingdom of God is upside down from the world. Everything is different. Although I don’t think it is rude to abstain from laughing at a crude joke, I would rather be rude to a human’s sin then be rude and disobedient to my Heavenly Father. That is fear of the Lord without a fear of man. Being kind toward others in love is exactly what refraining from laughing at their sinful joke is. We are to embrace correction and purification because that is what Love is. I don’t want people to go to hell. I want to be a witness to them in love to bring them to the love of Christ so that they too can join heaven when their time comes. Joining them in impure things such as dirty jokes is not being a good witness to them and you are failing them in the long run. This life is short; eternity is forever. I pray that God will give you an eternal perspective.

  3. Its amazing that Sabrina would think they that this article is so extreme and then go on to say what she thinks God would care about. Its amazing how people can make sweeping generalizations about who God is based on their own assumptions and no evidence. Well seeing that we are not God maybe we should go to the Bible to hear what says and it contains so much about speech such as Ephesians 4:29 : Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear; Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” and Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” God is a loving God but he does not condone sin. He understands our human frailties but at the same time has his standards. Strange enough, I came across this website because someone made a crude remark at work today and whereas I would have found it funny…now as a Christian, I can tell it grieves the Holy Spirit and by extension it also grieves me as well. A friend of mine who is also a Christian has a penchant for crude jokes…and it destroys her witness since unbelievers are not going to take her seriously as a Christian. I have tried to lead by example and have warned her about being careful about what she says but I’m not sure she gets it. I may have to sum up the courage and just mention it and if she chooses to continue simply excuse myself when the conversation becomes inappropriate.

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