About two months ago I wrote the post, I Sinned Against My Husband {Part 1}. But what you don’t know is that, the day before, I really did sin against my husband, by poking fun at him. That post, this series, was inspired by the ugliness I saw in myself that Sunday morning while getting ready for church {of all days}. But I knew that I needed to spend some time truly examining this common communication style many call poking fun. So in my reflection time with the Lord, I was led to write Part 1, all the while I knew I was still called to write on this. The problem I have had though is that while this article was inspired by my reflections on my own sin towards the dearest person to me, I realized that this such a bigger issue than just in marriage. But this topic of poking fun, tearing down affects all kinds relationships, between parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends, as well as married couples.

I am not saying poking fun or joking around is always a sin. Some couples enjoy teasing one another, and Isaac and I do as well at times. But those times of poking fun and teasing are lovers play. The poking fun I am referring to is with regard to poking fun at another and making them look lesser, tearing them down and bringing up a flaw of some kind whether it be a sin they struggle with or a character trait you don’t particularly like.

Just like any other sin, we need to examine our own heart motives for WHAT we say and HOW we say something–in all relationships. And we also need to consider how what we are saying and how we say offends the other person. In this particular situation, I was in sin because I was speaking out of a deep rooted resentment and poking fun in a belittling way. 

So I ask you, to pray for just a moment, for the Lord to open your eyes, and your mind. For His Spirit to convict your soul if you have sinned against your husband, your children, your brothers and sisters, or friends in this way.

Lord Jesus, we all love you and want to glorify You in all of our relationships. Please reveal to us when we have sinned and help us to have courage to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt, repent, and execute change in the way we communicate with others. We want to follow your example and live out your wisdom with regard to how we treat one another, but we sin often and hurt others, without even knowing it sometimes. Thank you for your grace and for leaving us the ultimate example of what it means to love one another– to die for a friend to have LIFE–Life Abundantly Everlasting! Amen.


Is Poking Fun a Sin?

Some might immediately think of scenarios where they poked fun at someone else, and think, ‘No, I wasn’t sinning. That is a nit-picky, over-reactive statement, to think poking fun is a sin.’ In fact, you may think there are many more “real issues” worth writing about, than ‘poking fun.’ And honestly, there are many more important sins worth tackling, to expose and get that fiery passion in your belly about and want to fight. But might I just challenge us all for a moment. And when I say challenge us all, I am completely preaching to myself here, because I have sinned against others by poking fun.

How do You Determine if Poking Fun is a Sin in Your Relationships?

1.) Be Introspective & Honest With Yourself | WHY did you say what you said?

Are you resentful of whomever you are poking fun at or insulting? Why are you resentful? Are you jealous? Angry at them? Is there unresolved conflict in your relationship? Do you have low self- esteem and try to make others look bad so as to puff yourself up and look better? What was your intention in saying what you did, the way you did? Did you think it was encouraging? Would it have encouraged you? Would you have been embarrassed if others said that to or of you?

2.) How Does Your Poking Fun Make the Other Person Feel?

Have you asked them?

Do you really know the other person? Do you know what makes them feel most valued and what doesn’t? If they don’t like being teased, then teasing them isn’t the most loving way to communicate. In fact, if someone is in fact aware that the other person doesn’t like being poked fun at and they continue to do so, it is simply put… unkind and mean. Their intentions are revealed if they in fact do know the other does not like it and is offended by it, and then they continue to do so.

How would you feel if it was said of you? Did it build them up or tear them down? Are they offended by that kind of joking around? Did your comment make them feel down? Was it a put down?


This same rule goes for gossip… just don’t even go there.

In the case of my relationship with my husband, in the times when I have poked fun at him, it never seems to reap a fruitful harvest. It tears down his confidence; especially if I ever make the BIG mistake of doing it in front of our children. BIG NO-NO!

We women have so much power and influence over our husband’s self-esteems. We need to hold it carefully, it is precious and God entrusted us with it. You have the power to destroy the mood for the day, the atmosphere of the home, or change it for the better. You have the ability to speak confidence and belief into their souls like no other person can, but you can also suck it dry right out of him as well. So be careful. Build your house well. On a side note, if there is a sin that your friend or husband is struggling with, don’t poke fun at it. Sin is not a laughing matter. Go to them out of genuine concern for their wellbeing. Or simply pray for them if you don’t have that kind of relationship. But don’t make fun.

Years ago, when Isaac and I were engaged one of the books we read together was all about how to Build Your Mates Self Esteem by Dennis & Barbara Rainey. I highly recommend this read. Even though we were not married yet, it has helped as the foundation for me to ask those harder questions of myself throughout marriage. The reality is that we are all sinners, we all mess up and hurt one another, but to try to be proactive about working on your relationship is key to a vital relationship lasting the long haul and enjoying one another. Rough patches come in life, but if you can focus on Christ and work hard on building one another up and pointing one another toward Him, and His agenda for your lives, then you will not only make it, but enjoy the adventure of marriage.

Many don’t even think this through, because frankly it has become such habit for them, maybe even passed on generationally.  To admit it a sin, would be admitting to sinning against ones brother or sister {child or spouse}.

What does it all come down too?

Do we hold ourselves to a standard of speaking life into one another, or do we allow for error, frequently and call it being light-hearted and “just” joking?

What would Jesus Do?

The timeless question from my good old  High School years. As Christ-followers, we are all held to the same course of appropriate action when we sin against our neighbor.

Confession, Repentance, Reconciliation & Execution of Change.

What is the Dicitonary Definition of Poking Fun?

Poking Fun is to Ridicule, to Mock, to Expose, especially of pretentious or false claims and ideas, to cause the other to appear foolish and to bring on laughter by way of this exposure or satire.


The pharisees mocked Jesus. His chastisement not only included being mocked, ridiculed, slandered, gossiped about, but what is amazing to me, is that as they were poking fun at him, calling Him King of the Jews they then went a step further to impress into His Head poking thorns, making Him shed blood. As they continued to mock Him, even on the cross, He bleed to save them from the very thing they did to Him–from sin. Sin is a bloody messy business.

And as we draw nearer to the remembrance of His crucifixion and the celebration of His resurrection. As I write, it is such a beautiful thought to me, that he died so that we could have abundant eternal life.

In the Kingdom of Heaven there will be no mocking, ridicule, putting people down, or gossip, slander, glaring, shifty eyes, distrust, or laughter at anyone’s expense. 

If you find yourself at any point in this reading saying to yourself, “Ah, come on. It’s just a little fun.” May I challenge you to find ‘fun’ without the expense of another. You haven’t really lived if you think this is the only way real delight can be drawn from this life.

Other Introspective Questions to Ask Yourself:

{Also great questions to ask when teaching kids about friendships- warn them to choose wisely who they trust – choosing to be around like-minded people who think positively and want to encourage and support one another}

  • When I am poking fun at people, am I focusing on their flawed character traits, their sins, their mistakes?
  • Am I mocking them or embarrassing them? And am I doing it on purpose?
  • Do I do this in many of my relationships? Are many of my relationships often us tearing one another down and ‘ripping on each other’ and how frequently do we actually speak kind uplifting words to one another?
  • Am I trying to bring this person down because they make me feel ‘small or dumb?’
  • Do I poke fun at people because it is how I get attention?
  • Do I poke fun at people when they are not around? {This is gossip}Why?
  • Would I speak the way I do with friends, if Jesus were sitting right there?
  • Does this improve my friendship?
  • Does it tear the other down? Does it make me feel good and puff me up to make others feel small?

The reality is that our intentions, though we may think they are pure and fun loving, many times aren’t. We need to be willing to ask ourselves the hard questions. This is how growth in relationships happens. When we take personal responsibility and choose to be kind… seeking to live more holy, like our Lord who died so we would be in healthy fellowship with our brothers and sisters. We need to remember that when their is sin between us and another, that very sin creates a barrier, a wall between us and God as well. We need to break down the walls to live in abundance.

The Importance of Modeling Healthy Communication to Our Children…

You see, I don’t ever want anything to come between my husband and I, especially not a sin that I can choose not to participate in. He is my best friend, why would I ever, even jokingly put him down? This is such a fine line for so many. If you are in need of another motivation, the truth is that you are a role model for your children. This type of “tearing one another down” can become a skill, one you don’t want to pass down.

Teaching Your Children to Choose Friends Wisely

This is truly it’s own blog post. In fact I have written many rough drafts, but for now, I just want to emphasize how important it is that you model and verbally teach your children how to choose friends wisely. For example, this is philosphy on trust I use myself as well as teach my children: “If they are poking fun at or gossiping about those they call their closest friends, be careful with what you trust them with… they will most likely speak poorly about you too.”

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Isn’t this the yearning of a heart, mind and soul that seeks to be more Christ-like? To be willing to ask ourselves the heard questions, to test ourselves and how kind we are as a friend, as a spouse?

I deeply desire to be honest with myself about the intentions of my heart, and I hope and pray that as I have asked myself these hard questions, mulled over them, prayed about it, offered apologies and experienced reconciliation with those in my life I have felt called to, that you would also take the energy to be honest with yourself, for the sake of having deeper, stronger relationships and not leaving any stone un-turned… to be above reproof.

Those who know me well, know I don’t poke fun very often. I am not very good at it. And I don’t receive it well either. I am often called the gullible one. But you know, I am okay with being gullible, it’s a reflection of honesty. and innocence of heart, as my great grandma used to say. In fact one of the more desirable definitions of the word is “unworldly,” isn’t that beautiful from a biblical perspective. Romans 12 teaches and advises us not to be of this world. Well, the world condemned Jesus to that cross, our sins put Him there, but He walked that long road willingly, submitting to the cost for our sake, so that we might be freed from this bondage sin divides us from God, who is holy, and our fellow man who is also a sinner in need of saving as well.

In our naivety and sinful nature create divisions between one another, we allow ourselves to be held to lower standards of what it means to be kind, to simply be nice. These words are not used enough today; they seem to have lost their value in our culture. It is going to take people, like you and I, choosing to be challenged, choosing to be … nice. Not critical. Not judgmental…. and if we come across that way to others often, then all that means is that we just have to try harder. Think about how different marriages would be today, or families, if we all tried to just be nice to one another?

Let me REITERATE, that because I know without a doubt that I was in sin against my husband when I poked fun at him for not doing something that I would normally be angry about, I am not accusing you of being in sin. That is for you to work out with the Lord and your husband.

When I poked fun at my husband, because it isn’t very often, I felt yucky immediately. And that distasteful feeling in my stomach was the first red flag that I was in sin.

Many people, maybe even most wouldn’t acknowledge this as a sin. And like I said early, for some it may not be. But if you have a gut feeling that you are in sin, then  you probably are. The best thing to do in this circumstance is to simply ask God to reveal your sin to you. Ask someone to regularly hold you accountable. You don’t need 10 friends, or even for, just one or two to carry the burden with you. And choose wisely, people who are natural encouragers. Not those who are given to putting you down.

What I am NOT saying:

I really, deeply, hope you heart my heart on this… this post has been a hard one for me to write, because not only have I struggled with poking fun every now and again, but I have seen it done in my family and among friends. For crying out loud, it is one of the main forms of humor we all laugh at for years and quote from movies. But this is the thing I keep asking myself,

“Is it Christ-like?”

Is it a sin? What is sin anyway?

Sin is not simply described as doing something “wrong,” as many might assume or describe it. For what then decides what is sin and not? For the Christ-follower & Bible Thumper, God’s Word is that definitive absolute. For centuries, the definition of “missing the mark” has been the best simplified definition of sin. Meaning to miss the mark that God lays out in His word as the way we should and shouldn’t live. Some sins are often regarded as greater than others. Of course, we could talk about the differences between sins of commission and omission, but really what it comes down to is a matter of heart. Our actions are a reflections of what is in our hearts or a reflection of not having an understanding that what we are doing, saying, or thinking is sin in the first place.

Pointing Out Others Sins is No Laughing Matter.

When poking fun is centered around pointing out someone else’s failures, character flaws, or choices leading to “missing the mark,” regardless of how large or small, the person doing the poking IS in sin. We should be grieved and troubled in noticing another’s sin. It should never be confronted through making fun, teasing or trying to mock them. For those who struggle with this… if you cannot go to a brother in sincere care for their spiritual life to confront the sin they are struggling with, than you should not be the one to confront them.

In the case of me, poking fun at my husband, it doesn’t happen very often, maybe once every couple months, sometimes a couple times in a month, BUT it doesn’t matter how often I do it, it always reaps the same result in my relationship with Him. And it is not a result that is God glorifying, but it is a reflection of the “ingredients” I have put into my marriage.

We all need to take responsibility for the quality of our relationships. The Lord set up the law of sowing and reaping in this world and it cannot be undone.

When poking fun mocks or sarcastically attempts to make fun of someone’s ‘missing the mark,’ it is sin. Jesus never poked fun. Aren’t we supposed to follow His example. He confronted people like Zacchaeus and Mary. He loved them, and helped them to see their sin, but not in a way that belittled them. He didn’t try to puff himself up, He didn’t seek to be known as a quick witted magician of words.

When Jesus was mocked, He died to give them forgiveness. 

So if you are ever wondering if you are in sin by poking fun, ask the one you are poking at how it made them feel. If you carelessly go about friendship hurting those in your life by poking fun at them and belittling them, they will not listen to you when you do have a deep concern for their life.

Relationships take work. As I tell my children, you are either building them or breaking them down by how you treat one another and how you talk to one another, so try. Try to be kind.

What does sin do?

For the believer in Christ, we recognize and admit that we are all sinners, who are in need of a Savior and forgiveness of our sins. Our common belief is that our sin, simply put, separates us from God {Gen. 3 & 4} and from a pure and deep relationship with our fellow man/woman {whether friend or mate}. Sin in it’s essence is the diseased condition that impacts our human nature, like a generational disease, “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

But it is not a condition that we do not have power over. Though we have all been born into sin and ‘by nature children of wrath,’

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:1-5, ESV

We are free because of Christ.

Sin is not just a condition, it’s also a choice.

And we can choose to live in the power of Christ, freed from the power of sin over us. Does this mean we don’t sin? Not at all. It means that when we are seeking the Lord’s wisdom, gaining in knowledge and understanding of the Word, and what it means to live holy {because He is Holy- 1 Peter 3}; then, when we are understanding how His truth relates to the world today, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, He guides us to make decisions and to act in ways that are pleasing to the Lord and in alignment with His Word.

When we surrender fully to the sanctification of the Spirit, He reveals our own sins to us, as well as the sins of this world so that we might make wise choices–choosing not to engage in the sins of the flesh, mind, and deceived heart. We have a choice. And His Word teaches us what is wrong in many cases and on many topical issues of today. Living outside the will of God, is living in sin. And any sin, even the complicated ways we communicate with our brother or sister {humanity} separates us from God as we mentioned before. This separation in communion grieves our Father in Heaven, just as a mother is grieved when her children do not work as a team, building one another up.

Our sins are like weeds. They can grow if we are not careful to tend our garden. Sometimes, we can’t get all the weeding done by ourselves, and that is why marriage, family, and the Body of Christ are so necessary. To help us do the weeding. Before those darn thistles get too big. But sometimes the sins of others, seems like blackberry bushes, they can creep in and they cut. WE have to be very careful to make sure that we keep the blackberry bushed tamed down and under control or they too will take over, causing much trouble and pain.

My prayer is that as sisters in Christ we can encourage one another to be repentant of the sins we commit quickly so that they don’t hold power over us or enable a foothold for the enemy to create division in the most sacred team, your marriage.

May God Be Glorified through our Mistakes!

In the Journey With Ya,


Angie Tolpin

This post is inspired by the reality of a ‘simple sin’ I committed against my husband… to poke fun at him while I really had a bitterness in my heart towards him over nit picky things that I felt he wasn’t doing {my expectations were not being met, but were also needed to be re-evaluated}. This concept of poking fun, but not in fun, is my addition to advise for brides in how to have a happy marriage… not to allow unresolved issues to become bitter roots and definitely not to allow them to be confronted by poking fun at your man.