How many times have you said or heard these words, “If I have to tell you one more time”, or “Mom, he’s crossing the line”, and “If I have to stop this car, I’m going to…”? These ageless phrases, familiar to us all, can generate smiles of nostalgia or bring to mind stressful times.

        One phrase that seems to fly out of many mouths, no matter what age we are is: “I’m just joking!” It pops up everywhere; after playing a practical joke, when we harmlessly tease a friend, even when we have purposefully said spiteful comments. These three simple words are often uttered when we have hurt someone’s feelings or taken a joke just a little too far. We use this phrase to lessen our responsibility for what we have said or how we have acted. “I’m just joking” is not an apology.

        Christians have a responsibility to be sure that our speech is not hurtful, even if we are “just joking”.God’s word is full of scripture that talks about the use of the tongue.

He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is likeone who takes a dog by the ears. Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “I was only joking!”  (Pro 26:18-19 NKJV) 

        As we go through our daily routines, let us all take time to look for opportunities to be an encouragement to others. A simple, sincere compliment to someone today can bring warmth to a hurting heart. Kind words can build strong relationships. A Christ-like tongue can save souls.