“Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!’ Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” (Proverbs 26:18-20)
Today the April fool tricks abound. There will be tricks, deceptions, lies, and games. It April 1, 2011, otherwise known as “April Fools Day.” There may of course be some fun little Aprils Fools Day pranks that we play our children or our friends to cause a giggle. (Rubber spiders in the sheets, wet paint signs anyone?) But there will also be many people who are hurt unnecessarily. There will be jokes that have gone too far. There will be those who kid around all in the name of “celebration” at the expense of others. And there will be those who use sarcasm or quiet passive aggression to express their own pain on a day in which it is socially acceptable.
When we live with illness it is part of life to grow custom to people asking us questions such as “Did someone in your family have this illness?” My husband and I have been asked this about my rheumatoid arthritis literally hundreds of times. It is typically the only time anyone ever asks about my heritage, which leads me to believe that they are not really interested in my ancestors, but rather they would like to rule themselves out of the chance that they could get rheumatoid arthritis too.
The last time someone asked my husband this and he told me about it later, I told him “We should come up with a really good response something like. ‘You know, when Lisa was young her cat actually had rheumatoid arthritis so we think that maybe the connection.'” Now, I can laugh about this because I have to have a sense of humor to face each day (and no, my cat didn’t have rheumatoid arthritis, but he did have an allergic reaction to the sun). Realistically, I don’t know if I would have the nerve to say this to anyone.
And as a Christian, I don’t believe it would truly be glorifying to God to have this be my response. . . right?
And this consideration should be our line in the sand when it comes to jokes and quarrels, deception and games: does our response honor God? Or does it give us the opportunity to use sarcasm to express our deepest emotional wounds that are not allowed to surface in our everyday lives?
Every day we are given dozens of opportunities to be like the madman in this Proverb who shoots firebrands or deadly arrows to his neighbor, and then says “it was only a joke.” God’s Word specifically states how in our behavior we should at least try to be Christ-like. When we have been hurt, it’s natural to want to hit back. But that doesn’t do us or our “neighbor” any good.
And when we shoot those arrows we do need to take full responsibility for them and go to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. We get ourselves in trouble when we try to add a disclaimer to our actions of “My mind just wasn’t working that day because of the medication” or “I am in so much pain I can hardly think straight, let alone know what is coming out of my mouth.”
Prayer: Lord, today as I acknowledge April Fools Day, help me be conscious of the words and actions that I put out into the world. Help me make them glorifying to You, and instead of focusing on tricks for April Fools Day, let me not use this day as an opportunity to silently let some of my bitterness seep out in what the world considers an acceptable arrow. Point out to me where my weaknesses are so that You and I can work on them together.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the gal behind Rest Ministries who began in 1996 after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and could not find the Christian support but she eagerly sought. God has brought her full circle from wanting to work for a nonprofit organization to now having her own and the joy of being a speaker and author. You can read more about her at http://lisacopen.com .