Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Healthy Dose of Sarcasm

sarcasm |ˈsärˌkazəm|
defn: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt

synonyms: derision, mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing; irony; cynicism.
"The tongue has the power of life or death, and those who love it will eat of its fruit." - Proverbs 18:21

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:14

"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." - Luke 6:45

"The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly." - Proverbs 15:24

"The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil." - Proverbs 15:28

Stark contrast, eh? I have to admit, I usually lean a little more towards a heavy dose of sarcasm than a healthy dose. But, the past few months have been an eye-opener in the world of words and friends. I am often brewing with sarcasm, used to be silly or funny - not to "hide [my] resentment." I have described friends using this line "He's so funny and sarcastic," as if being sarcastic was something to be proud of.

But when I look at the synonyms of sarcasm - ridicule, scorn, mockery - I am ashamed. Why would I ever want to be defined as such? If my being funny and getting a good laugh comes at the cost of another person, I am wrong. Very wrong.

In certain situations, sarcasm is somewhat harmless. When joking about situations or experiences, I don't see any serious harm. You laugh with a friend about a bad experience at a restaurant and say, "Oh yeah, that was the best meal ever...." No big deal, I don't think (except that you are technically lying, but that is a different story!). But, when our sarcasm (or just our jokes in general) is aimed at a person, we begin to enter dangerous territory. We begin to encroach on a person's Spirit - God's territory.

I am guilty of this, too, and at times it's gotten me in big trouble. But, lately, I have seemed to be at the receiving end of what seems like a thousand sarcastic/"just joking" remarks. I am beginning to reap what I have sown, and it is isn't fun.

We say that we "pick on people we love" or that we "only pick on people who can handle it." But, really, is that how we want to treat the people we love? Is that how I want to treat people I love? And, who decides if a person can "handle" it? There are days when little jokes don't bother me, and other days when an innocent comment can send me home crying and hurt. Who can judge what I can and cannot handle except me and Jesus?

My favorite is this line: "I only pick on people who know I love them." That's the worst lie ever. I don't know if you've ever been around the kind of person who constantly pokes fun at you (I have), but they don't make me feel loved. They make me feel like I'm a joke, like my feelings don't matter to them, and that they don't care about me. I don't want people I love to ever feel that way, or ever doubt that I love them. I don't want to show people I love them by picking on them. I want to show them I love them by loving them.

Now, I know that this post is kind of like "the pot calling the kettle black." And let me just confess: I am so guilty of this. SO SO SO SO SO SO guilty of letting the garbage in my heart come out of my mouth! I am, at times, the worst of all! But, I am learning. I am learning that I want to speak in love, and speak life into people.

"The tongue has the power of life and death..."

I choose life.


  1. Love it, Katie. And I agree with Blake... I've heard those words before ;)

  2. Katie,

    I came across your blog in a Google search. I'm not a sarcastic person. In fact, I don't like it. Nothing wrong with a little joking and tease here and there. Aside, your message really hit home and made very clear why I haven't ever liked it. We DO have the great power to influence others for good with our words and love.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    All the best in your wedding preparations!


  3. Michael,

    Words are extremely powerful, and (though it's hard) we must choose wisely what we say. Just hte other night, I said something sarcastic that left a bitter taste in my mouth... I hate it! But we are all works in progress! Thanks for reading, and for commenting!