“I have never been so insulted…”

“… Maybe you should listen more to what people are saying about you!”

Regular readers will be delighted to know that this Christmas I received two joke-related gifts. One is a calendar with a new joke every day, and the other describes itself as “The Ultimate Collection of Jokes and One-liners”. WOOOO HOOOOO! The book is categorized and here is one I found:

When God made him he should have kept the mould and thrown him away.
Whoever told you to ‘just be yourself’ gave you the worst advice ever.
You have an inferiority complex – and it’s not very good.
You say you are a self-made man? Good of you to own up and take the blame.

These are from the joke book. There is something delicious about a good insult. I know that we should not insult other people and that we should seek to bless and build up rather than tear down and insult, but perhaps that is why I find them so enticing. It’s like the old catchphrase for Cream Cakes – they’re naughty but nice.

Some of the best are wickedly funny (in both senses of the words).
“There’s no beginning to your talents.” (Clive Anderson)
“He is a modest man who has a good deal to be modest about.” (Winston Churchill)
“God could use you for miracle practice.” (Anon)
“You are drunk Sir Winston, you are disgustingly drunk.” “Yes, Mrs. Braddock, I am drunk. But you, Mrs. Braddock are ugly, and disgustingly fat. But, tomorrow morning, I, Winston Churchill will be sober.”

So I have a guilty secret. I find well-crafted insults quite amusing.

When they are written down.

The problem comes with being on the receiving end of such a comment. It could be devastating. Especially if everyone finds the insult as amusing as I do and laughs – that compounds the misery of the insulted person. That stops them being funny. That wipes the humour away.

Jesus got close to insulting people when he described Pharisees and Teachers of the Law as: “Whitewashed tombs”; “blind guides” (Matthew 22). How did they feel being on the receiving end of his tirade? How would I feel if he aimed the same sort of accusations at me?

The problem is that he reserved his anger and these semi-insults for the religious establishment. As a Baptist Minister I guess that includes me today. What would he say to the religious establishment now? Do we still neglect those he wants us to love? Do we still focus on keeping up appearances? Are we more concerned about our reputation than about his good news? Do we spend more on maintenance than mission?


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