Making fun of people?


What are your thoughts on making fun of people? It tends to be a bad habit of mine when I don't watch what I'm doing all the time, but it's not like I would ruin someone's reputation. I definitely want to get better at it, but I feel like I get stuck just blurting things out. For instance, and I know this sounds silly: Tonight I was walking along a sidewalk with some friends and saw a white glove, and immediately said, "Oh Michael Jackson must be around here!" Would that be something worth confessing (mortal even?)? It really bothers me that I say stupid stuff like that:confused:, and I always try to pray for people or correct it afterward. What do you think?


I don’t see the example you used as being mortal sin. I’m not even sure that would be venial sin. Sounds like a touch of the scruples to me. :confused:

You can bring it to confession if it helps you, and obviously it is helping you because you are praying for others and trying not to do these things again. I think you’re on the right road, keep up the good work! :slight_smile:


Yes, I am fighting scrupulosity, but I can't help but think of Jesus' quote regarding calling your brother a fool and consequently putting your soul in danger.. =/ I just wish I could stop all together.


Tonight I was walking along a sidewalk with some friends and saw a white glove, and immediately said, “Oh Michael Jackson must be around here!” Would that be something worth confessing (mortal even?)? ?

I think it was making a joke. Michael Jackson made millions with that glove and it became a symbol of his act. He was an entertainer. It was a funny remark. You didn’t make fun of him, that I can see.

Making fun of people… commenting disparagingly on their defects, or their misfortunes or something like that, is very cruel, and we are called on to be loving at all times, and never, ever to be cruel to another person. Hard work, but worth the effort. Making harmless jokes, is not being cruel. If I, for example, bought a new red car, and you said about every red car that you saw, that it must be my new car, because you hadn’t seen my car yet, it’s not making fun of me, its just you making a joke. It may be annoying of you, but not cruel. And being annoying, so far as I know, is not a sin in and of itself.

I think it is admirable for you to want to quit making fun of people. It is a terrible way people have of making themselves feel better about themselves, disguised as joking. Ask the Holy Spirit to touch your shoulder when you are beginning to be cruel, and give you another remark to say. Maybe something funny that is not at another person’s expense. You will be surprised. We will never be left without help when we are trying to be good. And be sure to thank God for the help when it comes.


I can’t help but think of Jesus’ quote regarding calling your brother a fool and consequently putting your soul in danger…

That quote needs to be taken in context. The Aramaic word for ‘fool’ that Jesus actually used was not something one would say as a joke or in casual conversation… it was an extreme insult, roughly equivalent in our culture to spitting in someone’s face or calling them a commonly used synonym for “person who commits incest with their mother.”

For someone to “call their brother a fool” in the way Jesus meant would have been an indication that they harbored the kind of hatred, bitterness, and contempt that leads to actual violence, and therefore was just as sinful as actual violence.

Trying to be funny ALL the time can irritate or unintentionally hurt others, so I would still try to break that habit. However, it isn’t in the same league with what Jesus was talking about.


Thank you both; sometimes it really helps me when I get the input from others because I tend to unintentionally go off the deep end when I analyze myself. I’ll keep you guys in my prayers.:slight_smile:


It is a terrible habit of mine. For me, born of insecurity and resentment.

I have been studying forgiveness (yes, I need to learn of such things) with two priest acquaintances. When I make fun of people, I am trying to learn to 1) catch myself, 2) in my mind immediately repent of my behavior, 3) silently ask forgiveness from the person I have mocked, and 4) forgive myself and those who, over the years, have destroyed my self esteem, causing me to want to do such things. Scrupulosity? Not for me; I am not trying to earn my way into heaven. I am just tired of how disgusted I feel with myself after doing it. Maybe I’m just becoming more sensitive to offending God and my fellow man. I feel no need for formal confession, but I pray to Jesus for help.

God bless you, Tim


how is that making fun of someone? you recognized an object that this entertainer had deliberately chosen as part of his identity and responded to a message he chose to give about himself. Only if you used that as an excuse to belittle him, his family, his race etc. would there even remotely be anything sinful involved.

what you seem to be more concerned about is simply a habit of speaking without thinking, and that is certainly worth spending time to correct. you are right, you might say something hurtful without meaning to, and prudence in speech is a virtue, but that does not mean every chance remark is a sin. Only if those remarks arise from sinful thoughts–racial prejudice, envy etc–might there be an occasion of sin. You might choose to read the Letter of James, especially what he says about guarding our tongue because it can lead us to sin. I actually got that for a penance one time in confession, and I can think of no better place for you to go for guidance.


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