The furnace of character development is heated for many by speech. Growing up, I was the butt of “short-people” jokes. Remember the song that came out in the ‘80’s making fun of short people?—“short people got no reason to live.” Unfortunately, I learned early on that an effective defense against cutting remarks was the use of sarcasm. A witty putdown can become an art-form. It feels good to sting the stinger. But does it really?
Criticism or “put-downs” can inflict damage. But sarcasm also hurts. It reveals that my strength is not in the Lord but rather in my tongue. Just as I can be wounded by another’s remarks, so can I lacerate by being sarcastic. The mark of a believer is not to wound others when badgered but to edify them. The Bible nowhere commends us for verbally stabbing those who provoke with their words or behavior. Instead God challenges us to speak words that build others up. The next time you feel a witty putdown—stuff it. Be like Jesus who bore the insults of the religious elite and chose to love them. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
Ephesians 4:29-- No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.
Sarcasm is the weapon of a weak, spiteful nature, its literal meaning is to tear the flesh from the bone.—Oswald Chambers in The Pilgrim’s Song Book
©1997 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)