“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” Ephesians 4:29-30 NIV
“Sarcasm is a good way to communicate directly with someone. It is the most direct way to confuse and offend someone.” Unknown
Sarcasm: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt. To tear flesh.
Sarcasm is celebrated. Comedians use it. Sitcoms use it. And social media? Give me strength!
Do we use it?
There are articles and quotes glorifying the sarcastic person as witty (not the same by any stretch), intelligent and creative. This may be true, but in my debate class years ago, I was deducted points if any sarcasm was used in my presentation. Witty doesn’t hurt, shame or denigrate another. Sarcasm does.
“Way to go, genius!” After someone has tripped.
“I’m not angry. I’m sarcastic. That’s what you deserve.”
Sarcastic comments after one is attempting a new experience or a difficult situation is not helpful at all. Put downs. Always at another’s expense. It may feel good in the moment, but…
There are so many sarcastic comments thrown about and when it happens to little children who have no defense, it’s life-damaging. They carry that shame and doubt into adulthood.
But our Father is different. First, he’s pure, peaceable, full of mercy and good fruits. This heals and we are to do the same. More good news.
Sarcasm is hostile, veiled as funny, passive-aggressive, envious and always at the other’s expense. It’s never helpful for the receiver or the sarcastic.
We Christians work on not swearing, not lying and not gossiping. Good! May we focus on what a situation demands. Reassurance? Hug? May I help you? That happened to me, may I share this with you? We may be sarcastic towards ourselves too, that judgmental critic in our heads needs an eviction notice now! That’s not our Father.
Sticks and stones will never hurt me or another is not true! If we are to say edifying, encouraging words that lift another, the opposite must be true. Help us to only say helpful words to others and to ourselves. Help us to guard the tongue “that starts a raging fire.” We want to have the right words for the person and situation like your Son did and does. The tongue is the hardest to tame and yet your word says that one who can control his tongue can control a city. Thank you for the grace we need as we learn new ways of communicating. Thank you we can say a silent prayer and receive help