8 Steps to Avoid “Crude Joking”

Too many believers fall into verbal sin, even though the Bible is quite clear about our responsibility to be careful about how we speak:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29)

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Eph. 5:4)

If you face a struggle with crude joking, maybe these steps will help you overcome this sin:

  1. Admit the problem. I write this post not because I’ve reached perfection in this area, but because I know the struggle. We’ll never fight the problem if we don’t admit it first. Get a prayer partner who will pray with you about your speech.
  2. Recognize the consequences. If our words are immoral at any time, why should people listen to us when we talk about the transforming power of the gospel? We deny the gospel when we talk like the world does.
  3. Decide to be like Jesus. He spoke words of grace, and He spoke them graciously: “And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth” (Luke 4:22). We need to be like Him.
  4. Don’t put junk in your head. It’s easier to joke about sinful stuff when we’ve put the stuff in our head in the first place. When it’s on your mind, it’s not far from your lips.
  5. Focus on building up others. That’s what Paul told us to do. If we strive only to build up others—to edify them with our words—we’ll push away from sinful talk.
  6. Tell somebody something good about God every day. When you make this commitment, you watch for open doors to praise the Lord each day. Crude jokes don’t fit well in the mind that verbally honors God daily.
  7. If necessary, limit time with people you allow to influence you wrongly. Many of us have acquaintances with whom it’s too easy to “let our guard down.” If you don’t have the spiritual strength to be godly around these persons, you may need to see them less often.
  8. Quickly confess any failures. One problem with crude joking is that it’s contagious. One joke leads to another, and then to another. If you fall, halt this process by quickly turning to God in confession.

What steps would you add to this list? 


  • Bill Pitcher says:

    You may have addressed this in another post, but I’ve seen that it’s not just what comes out of our lips. Our emails and our social media communications can have wide-reaching effect also.

  • Cynthia A Garman says:

    The problem I face is not my telling of inappropriate jokes/stories but the unsolicited receiving of same. At this moment I am considering how I will respond to my senior lay leader (male) who emailed a childish inappropriate joke to me (female), one that featured the response of a child obviously influenced by pharmaceutical advertising. Too often if I do not respond to such jokes, keep a straight face, or say I feel it was inappropriate and then hear, “Can’t you take a joke?” This weighs heavily on female clergy. Comments welcome, please.

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      Thanks, Cynthia. All of us, I think, deal with this issue. I’ve occasionally had to have a heart-to-heart talk with a friend simply to say, “It’s not that I’m better than you and don’t think that way. It’s precisely because I could so easily go there that I have to be careful. Thanks for your understanding.” I’ve found that this approach is often helpful, but I, too, welcome other comments.

  • Isabel says:

    Thanks for these simple tips!!
    It’s so easy to let out guard down and then fall into a bad habit… I need to keep remembering Jesus beautiful & perfect example that the Holy Spirit enables us to follow!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.