That was how my friend started his filthy joke. I guess since we were all Christians he thought he wouldn’t ruin his reputation. He felt justified in telling his brothers in Christ something that he wouldn’t tell his non-Christian friends. But this action did harm his reputation among the small audience. It demonstrated that he enjoyed that type of humor but, constrained by what he understood to be appropriate behavior for a Christian, he could only enjoy it himself of fellow Christian confidants. His conviction seemed to be with appearance, not dedication to holiness in God. The oldest of the group said, “Well, I am a Christian and I don’t appreciate that type of humor” to provide much needed correction.
It reminds me of a story of a man in a group who said, “Since there are no ladies present, let me tell you a joke.” Quickly a man arose and said, “There may be no ladies present but there is at least one gentleman and I’ll ask you to wait until I leave before telling your joke.” If you think this is not serious and that God really doesn’t care about such humor, consider Ephesians 5:4
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:3-4 (ESV)
Christians must be Christians among Christians
We should not use our association together to let our guard down but to build each other up! Every act of holiness, meekness, helpfulness, love, compassion, and kindness should be amplified when Christians are together! It is so disappointing to hear of Christians treating their brethren with contempt, unkindness, or apathy. We get enough abuse in the world, the company of Christians should be our place of safety, rest, and building. Yet sometimes when we are among fellow Christians we allow such petty behavior and attitudes to exist as if our brotherhood allows such treatment. We forget that we are a body, under a single head, that is to work in unity and love for one another. Heed the warning of Galatians 5:14-15:
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Christians in the Family
We can see this in families as well. Among husbands and wives, parents and children, where there should be love and edification there is animosity, apathy, and abuse. It seems the attitude is “we are bound together as a family so no matter how I treat or ignore you, you are stuck with me.” Instead of enjoying the bond and building it through love, mutual respect, and edification, they demoralize and demean the others. In the physical family and the family of Christ, this should not be. If Christ commands us to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” do we have any closer neighbors than our spouse, parents, and siblings? I read a quote once that the household of the Christian should be such that even the dog feels blessed to be in it.
We should shine as lights into the dark world and demonstrate the holiness of Christ in our lives so that all will know we are Christians. Especially among fellow Christians.