“Hahaha!” Another mean, degrading, or crude insult has been put on social media, and you’re tagged in it…but…you’re not laughing. You may be the target, or you may just be invited to join in on the “joke” at the expense of someone else. Maybe it’s even at the expense of the unknown person in the photo itself.
Many times, both teens and adults get caught up in making fun of others to get a laugh. The truth is, there are a lot of people who aren’t laughing on the inside. Jesus isn’t laughing either. Sometimes people will go along with it because they feel intimidated, embarrassed, or confused. They may be trying to figure out the friendship, but deep down they wish the rude post had never been shared in the first place.
No matter what anyone insists to be true, this just isn’t the way real friends treat each other. True friends encourage and uplift each other, instead of tearing each other, disguising it as a “joke.” Those who approve of this type of behavior are listening to lies. The devil cleverly uses denial and deceit to eventually turn people against each other. Insults and dirty “jokes” about others, turn themselves around in a person’s mind, and begin to do their damage. They hurt everyone involved, including the offender, but especially the victim.
Constantly making people the “butt” of jokes, even clean ones, is a form of bullying, even if everyone pretends it isn’t so. It’s also a sign of underlying issues not being addressed…sin issues. Usually it’s a sign that forgiveness needs to occur.
Even subtle bullying, the sharing of inappropriate posts, can contribute to depression in a teen. Adults aren’t immune either. You can help a friend, by checking in with those who have been tagged or targeted, and giving them your support. You can let parents know what is happening, and you can report inappropriate posts when necessary. Most of all, you can pray with, and for someone who has been the target of online joking and teasing. Teens should ask a trusted adult to help them handle the situation.
Regardless of what the crowd thinks, it only matters what God thinks. Here’s what God says in the bible about crude jokes:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving” (Eph. 5: 3-4 New Living Translation).
Just because someone says something about you, doesn’t mean it’s true. Only God’s words are good and just and true. A person’s word is only good if it aligns with God’s scriptures in the bible. Pray against denial and deceit in Jesus’ name. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and tell you the Truth.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (Jas. 1:5).
If you’ve been insulted, you can go to Jesus and talk to him about it. He will comfort you, and help you to heal. Jesus knew all about being insulted. He was mocked and spat upon, even though he was the Son of God!
“Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you’ ” (Matt. 26: 27-28)?
If you’re the offender, and it’s possible, go to that person and ask for forgiveness. Ask Jesus to forgive you for your sin. Even if the offended party does not forgive you, there’s a silver lining: God forgives you, which means your sin is wiped clean.
” ‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’ ” (Isa. 1:18).
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