“Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows and death, so is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “Was I not joking?” For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.” – Proverbs 26:18-20 (NASB)
Perhaps we can recognize in today’s proverb verses the effect of the anonymity that social media provides. It is too easy for one to be reckless with our words and when challenged claim “this is sarcasm.” The wild and reckless archer is referred to first in verse 10 and is a picture a troublemaker. After deceiving his neighbor he tries to duck responsibility when accused by saying “I was only joking.” But that is humor in bad taste. Deceptive words and harsh conversation, like deadly arrows, the damage to another’s reputation has already been done and rarely can be recovered. Our promise is a warning against the damage course jesting or speaking in sarcastic or disingenuous form. Rather we are encouraged to act wisely and to not add any fuel to a simmering temper and so let hard feeling calm down. Even more, keep it close to our chests and not give it the wings of gossip by whispering it in hushed tones. The better way to respond is to not employ a busy tongue which makes trouble where it does not find any.