Proverbs 26:18,19, As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
Did you ever throw firecrackers at the feet of a friend?
Remember the western movies that we watched on television where the character in the black hat shot at the feet of the town weakling?
When I was a boy we played a game where we flipped a knife near the foot of another player.
If it stuck in the ground the other player would have to move his foot nearest the knife to the location of the knife.
He would have to keep his other foot stationary.
The first one to fall would be the loser.
These acts perhaps are not quite the acts of a madman but they head toward his acts.
They are the apprentice grounds for the job of mad man. Mad men start here.
These acts are not meant to do harm but many times they do harm because something comes up that was not planned to come up.
The boy jumps away from a firecracker and into another firecracker coming from another direction.
One blows up near his eye causing permanent damage to his eye.
The town weakling dances into the path of a bullet meant for the dust of the street.
The knife bounces off a hard object and stabs the leg of the player.
What about the young fellows who stole the stop sign for a lark which resulted in several deaths of innocent drivers?
What about those young people who sling shot a rock into a man's house not thinking that maybe the house owner would think it was a gunshot that caused that bullet to enter his house.
Did they think of the possibility of that house owner feeling the lives of his family were threatened.
Did they consider that one of their own would be dead a few minutes after their ill considered prank?
What about the hazing incidents in colleges and fraternities that end so tragically?
What did the prank of setting a girls clothes on fire at the Citadel get the cadet who was just playing?
What about the stupid challenges to drink vast amounts of alcohol in order to fit in with the group?
These are all unplanned for results of events that take place because of antics, escapades, tricks, jokes, gags, shenanigans, horseplay, monkeyshines, tomfoolery, or pranks.
Better be careful when you choose to indulge in such things.
Results may occur that have no resemblance to what you had planned.
Paul in Ephesians 5:4, cautioned us in this when he wrote, Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
He called what we have described, jesting which is not convenient.
Jesting in the sense of a well turned phrase or witticism.
A readiness at repartee, even a readiness at ribaldry which means: course, earthy, lewd, obscene, suggestive, or vulgar.
Paul admonished us to let jesting which is not proper to not be once named among you, as becometh saints.
Jesting which is not proper. Not any jesting, but jesting which is not proper.
Peter called men who do these things natural brute beasts and said in 2 Peter 2:13, that they, ... shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
These are false friends. Deceivers who pretend to love but bring injury instead.
They are those who elevate themselves on the back of another by sport or play or jesting or practical joking!
They are betrayers!
Solomon says the same thing in our proverb when he describes one who deceives his neighbor and then says, Oh, I was just kidding, I was just playing.
I didn't mean to hurt you!
Solomon asks us to: picture a mad man who throws about you flashes of fire, sharp instruments like knives and arrows, things that can cause death.
This mad man plays with fire and arrows and knives in a manner that threaten your very life.
This image is something akin to a circus performer who throws knives and shoots flaming arrows at someone against a wall missing that someone by a hairsbreadth. Most times!
This is the image we are told to carry with us as we relate to our neighbor, as we interchange with those around us.
We are not to, in the framework of jesting, bring our neighbors and our friends to a place of scorn.
We are not by jesting which is not proper, to say something that will result in friction, strife or contention or embarrassment.
Many times we allow the evil of our heart to reveal itself under the cloak of jesting.
I was just fooling. I did not mean to do harm. It was just a joke!
Trying to cover up an act that has gone awry!
On many occasions, attempting to be witty, we cause hurt and pain to friends and neighbors.
At their expense we intend to place ourselves a plane above.
We think it more important to be thought of as witty, as one who can speak a well turned phrase or witticism than one who cares about the feelings of others.
Embarrassment of others in order to perform a jest and to receive acclaim is like a madman who amuses himself by threatening those around him with instruments of death.
Playing with fire at the expense of another!
We certainly ought to be a people with a sense of humor.
We ought to be a laughing people, a people who enjoy one another and enjoy jesting and joking.
But that ought to be proper jesting.
Jesting that cements friendships instead of separating friendships.
To be otherwise is to be a deceiver, a Judas, a friend in name only and not a friend in deed.
We are not to be thought of as a friend when by our jesting we prove ourselves enemies.
Better to have enemies that are open enemies than a so called friend who brings wounds that are not the wounds of love but of hate.
Proverbs 10:23 says, It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
A man of understanding hath wisdom even in his jesting.
Wisdom guards the door of his lips even in his times of humor and jesting.
He dares not push himself up while putting others down.
This is what God's heart is in this matter.
He thinks that one who does is equal to a madman!