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Sarcasm

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!  
-James 1:26, 3:10 (NLT)

Sarcasm is something I was curious about.  I use sarcasm.  I have heard it often.  Sarcasm seems to be normal, although annoying, in our culture.  I have been asking why we are sarcastic.  My culture is rich, compared to most of the world, yet sarcasm abounds.

Sarcasm is sugar coated anger.  It is like killing, with a smile.  It is an insult, couched in humor.  Rather than words being used to connect with others, sarcasm pushes others away.  It is the "porcupine hug".

Since the insults and contempt of sarcasm are wrapped up in humor, our guard is down, and the nasty words penetrate deeper, before they release their toxic venom.  We commonly say, "just kidding", or, "I was only joking"; after the damage is done.

We often resort to sarcasm because we are cowards.  Rather than share our hurt or sadness, grief or loss; we instead say something sarcastic.  Rather than being authentic and getting affirmed, or being perhaps confronted and held to account; we spew out sarcastic remarks, with a smile.  This style of relating buffers us from others and leaves us isolated and unhealed.

It seems paradoxical that sarcasm is a form of anger, while anger stems from hurt and fear.  The person who is sarcastic is often hurting or fearful.  We may have learned, in our family of origin, to not express hurt or fear.  We need to learn how.

We also need to grieve.  New life in Christ cannot blossom until there has been death.

Sarcasm is a fruit that is bitter, prickly, or distasteful.  Sarcasm means to bite or tear someone with your words.  A sarcastic statement is a cutting remark.  Sarcasm is stealthy in that the knife is hidden in humor or irony.

Sarcasm is polite insults.  Sarcasm is linked to anger and insecurity.  Sarcasm is a form of passive-aggression.  It is indirect.  The fearful person uses sarcasm, instead of a healthy expression of anger.

Sarcasm hurts when it is cutting or biting, but it is also very disingenuous.  The sarcastic person is avoiding intimacy and closeness.  It is a skunk type behavior used to get others to back off.

Sarcasm is hostility disguised as humor.  You might notice that most sarcasm is delivered with a smile.  Sarcasm is also a form of bullying.  Bullies are really insecure cowards.

Richard Chin wrote:
Sarcastic statements are sort of a true lie. You’re saying something you don’t literally mean, and the communication works as intended only if your listener gets that you’re insincere. Sarcasm has a two-faced quality: it’s both funny and mean. This dual nature has led to contradictory theories on why we use it.
Some language experts suggest sarcasm is used as a sort of gentler insult, a way to tone down criticism with indirectness and humor.
Sarcastic talk is spiritually toxic to the person that practices it.  The venom that comes out of your mouth creates bondage in your life.  The verse, "don't give the devil a foot hold", follows the admonishment to not sin when you get angry (Psalm 4:4 & Eph. 4:26).  In other words, we do get angry.  But, anger is not a sin.  We might get angry because of hurt, fear, or a perceived injustice.  There is a healthy expression and release of anger, but sarcasm is not one of these.

You may have been verbally abused in childhood and have not yet crossed-over from it through Jesus.  You were criticized so much that you have a critical inner self or parental introject, and as an adult you are massively hard on yourself and critical or ungracious towards others, resulting in a temptation towards sinful ways of talking.

Sarcasm is not good, not helpful, and does not edify nor build up others.  Sarcasm is not ok, but is forgivable.  There is no excuse for it.  It needs to be exposed as sin.  We may do a, "there I go again, please forgive me", a thousand times.  But being sarcastic is incompatible with and diametrically opposed to life in Christ.

The hard path that we are called to walk on is that path of radical love that includes radical grace and radical holiness.  This path is not a path of libertinism nor legalism.

We want to be seeking to walk in Jesus' love that is full of grace, towards others and towards our selves.  How can we love our neighbor if we do not love our selves?  Grace has been defined as God's favor and the empowering presence of God.  You can not be gracious unless you first receive grace and you need the presence to be authentically present.

It's all about love and we want to live by and through love.  Sarcasm does not fit in with that life.  It is alien.  When sarcastic words are spoken, our response should be, "what was that?"  It is like speaking the worst profanity.  The next thing we want to hear is an apology.  If there is no acknowledgement, then we have the responsibility to ask for one, saying simply, "excuse me?"

We can also know that sarcasm is a wrong reaction to anger, which is rooted in hurt or fear, much of the time.  Besides being angry, a person displaying grouchiness may also be hungry, lonely, or tired.

You may need to recover self awareness, as part of loving your self, and acknowledging when you are hungry, lonely, or tired; along with being aware of anger in yourself and looking to see if it is rooted in fear or hurt, and then open those rooms in your soul to Jesus Christ.  We need to walk in the fruit of the Spirit which starts with love and ends with self control.


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