18 ¶ As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
Here, we are told that the person who deceives another and when caught, insists they were just joking, that it was all in fun is like an insane person who does great bodily harm to another and insists they meant no harm. The act of deceit is akin to malicious, physical behavior performed by a person who is “off their rocker”.
Here, the Christian is warning against jesting which is making sport at someone else’s expense, mocking them, or their circumstance, and thinking its funny. Notice the company jesting keeps with regard to various sins.
Ephesians 5:3 ¶ But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Much of what goes on today as bullying begins as making fun of someone, jesting at their expense. It is not for a Christian to do.
But, with this Proverb we are talking specifically about deception. We have our April Fools jokes and our pranks. These can backfire. You don’t know what mental state your victim is in, what they have gone through of late, or what they are pondering. Your “harmless” little deception might be the trigger that sets off a fire you did not expect. I’ve been guilty of everything I have spoken against at one time or another so I know how things can go too far. This is particularly true of saying something about the person that isn’t true but we’ll get to that next.
Deception is lying, pure and simple.
Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
So, for us, again, the principle here is that deceiving another person and insisting you were only joking when caught, is as malicious as an insane person setting fire to their barn or shooting arrows at them and then, when caught, claiming it was all meant to be in fun. Can’t you take a joke?