I'm Just Kidding

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I’m just kidding!” We say that a lot in our families, don’t we?


I remember years ago when I was playing in the NFL for the New York Giants. We’d get in early for practice and meet in the locker rooms. As each guy would walk the guys already there would start making fun of him.


There was one moment in particular that I will never forget. One player, in particular, would make fun of me each time I’d walk in, and it seemed like the barbs we would pass back and forth would get more cutting each time. It probably won’t surprise you that our relationship wasn’t very good. Oh sure, we would always say, “Just kidding!” But the words will still hurtful.


One morning as I came walking in, this player started making fun of me, as usual. When he was done, everyone turned to me, waiting for my response. Well, that morning I decided to change things up. I said, “You know what I admire about you? You are the hardest working player on our team. You make me a better football player every single day. If everyone worked as hard as you do, we could probably go to the playoffs for the first time in eighteen years.”


It was true, and I meant it. He was the hardest working player on our team.


A short while after that he came up to me and said, “You know, I’m sorry for always giving you a hard time. I think we’re going to be friends.”


It all started when I decided not to retaliate. That’s what we’re doing when we’re saying, “I’m just kidding!” We’re retaliating in a way that seems like it’s fun, but it’s really not.

The bible says that we need to bless one another. Here’s what 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.”


Here are a few ways you can help get rid of hurtful retaliations in your family:


  • Hold a family meeting to talk about it. It’s not a joke when it’s not funny, or hurtful. Model to your kids how to talk about things that hurt you.
  • Ask for forgiveness. If you’re guilty of saying “I’m just kidding” and pretending it’s a joke, be the first one to change.
  • Be a blessing and bless your kids out loud in front of one another.

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Published on September 17, 2019.

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