We live in a toxic verbal culture today. And it is no more clearly seen than in our use of sarcasm. It is challenging for us as Christians because we are influenced by what is happening around us and the words being spoken. Perhaps the greatest behavioral principle of life is that people repeat the behavior they see others do and repeat the words they hear. Oh, does this apply with sarcasm.
Today’s culture is out of control and has no moral compass or protective boundaries around it when it comes to the spoken word. The F-bomb is common in everyday language and rampant in all venues of life. At the heart of much of these nasty, negative words is the use of sarcasm.
Let’s look deeper at sarcasm. The word sarcasm is derived from the Greek verb sarkazein. It literally means “to tear flesh like a dog.” Could there be a clearer, viler picture of sarcasm? Sarcasm has been labeled the lowest form of humor. Its prominence in social interaction and communication today demonstrates the depths to which we have fallen in our humor, and it is unfortunately alive and well in Christian circles too.
Contemporary culture glorifies sarcasm as the pinnacle of humor. The more sarcastic you are, the cleverer you’re understood to be in your quips and comebacks. For some, sarcasm has become a ritual. The one-upmanship in sarcastic bantering resembles two fencers thrusting swords and wounding each other with emotional, cutting jabs until one submits or succumbs. Brutal, sarcastic humor dominates the entertainment industry, from movies to television, and it influences our culture markedly. Look at the most popular comedians, talk show hosts, and highest-rated comedies on television and you will see people vastly skilled in the art of raunchy, biting sarcasm.
Many Christians have lost their way on the issue of respect for our authorities and have fallen in line with the world in its sarcasm, disrespect, and lack of honor for those whom God has placed over us. Sadly, some of the sharpest, most mean-spirited sarcasm takes place in the political realm—or, for that matter, toward anyone in authority—and pastors are not excluded. What should be our response to those placed by God over us? We should pray earnestly for those in authority. Simply put, there is little room for the use of sarcasm in the words we speak. Our words are to be words of encouragement and edification.
We would like to thank Tim Cameron & Charisma House for providing this plan.