Sarcasm is a style of conversation you hear almost daily. Late-night talk show hosts use cutting remarks to entertain audiences. Politicians use sarcasm to convince their constituents that the opponent is unworthy of their vote. And we use ironic criticisms in our daily communications with one another at work, home, or church.
So is sarcasm a godly – or ungodly – style of communication? Ought Christians be sarcastic with one another?
Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking,” we read in Proverbs 26:18-19, ESV.
A madman or. . .a church lady? It seems everyone nowadays spouts hurtful comments. When confronted, the person who makes the slice-and-dice remark turns it around on the neighbor or friend. He says the neighbor is too sensitive or simply, “Lighten up, I was only joking.”
Proverbs terms this person a “madman” because of his duplicity. He intentionally wounds with his words. Then he tries to shift attention off his sin of wanting to harm and onto the other person. Perhaps he changes the subject. What he doesn’t do: take responsibility.
Listen to James’ description of the tongue:
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3:7-9, ESV)
Sarcasm does have a place in our language and is often used to poke fun at one another. In fact many close friends are often sarcastic with one another, laughing and joking good-naturedly.
When we poke fun at one another and ourselves in a sarcastic manner we know that it is in fun. Proverbs 17:22 states,
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
But when our sarcastic remarks go over the top, it’s time to humbly repent and make sure the relationship is restored.
In sum, laugh it up and poke fun at one another. Laughing with and at one another builds friendships, but be careful not offend your neighbor or friend or spouse.
What Do You Think?
Is sarcasm godly or ungodly? Leave a comment.
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