Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Duly Convicted

(Trapped in Sarcasm by Charles Degollado)

exerpts from THE SARCASM TRAP
by Randy Foncree

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love shall eat the fruit thereof.

There are many reasons why people use sarcasm. Some individuals use it as a form of intimidation or manipulation; others use as a defense mechanism to hide their true feelings. According to Webster, sarcasm is defined as: The making of agreeably worded, but harsh intended remarks. Sarcasm is a COWARDLY [emphasis added] way to get a point across without directly confronting another person of their behavior, or something done that annoys us. It’s usually laced with a rye sense of humor.

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[example of his boss using sarcasm with him]

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I felt anger and a sense of “belittlement” try to rise up in me. His comment made me feel about two inches tall. It didn’t propel me to change my heart. One can sometimes affect behavior with their sarcasm, but sarcasm will NEVER CHANGE ANOTHER PERSONS'S HEART [emphasis added]. I have a real strong belief in not reacting emotionally because I feel anger, so I was able to forgive him for his sarcastic comment to me....

These are the kind of individuals who use sarcasm as a defense mechanism: a person that lives with someone who has a difficult personality, doesn’t respond to their needs effectively, or that’s the way they’d always seen certain problems handled at home. In extreme cases, CONTROL [emphsis added] is the primary reason for a person’s sarcasm. Every person in this world has legitimate needs, but sarcasm will never be a legitimate way to get those needs met.

Sarcasm is a way to get a point across to another person without directly confronting their behavior, or how their behavior makes us feel. Sarcasm is usually rooted in fear. It is a way to try and eliminate the possibility of someone lashing out in anger, or even rejecting us. It is a way of having a say by belittling someone, or taking the wind out of their sails, and the sarcastic person comes out the victor in the situation. Psychologists would call sarcasm a passive-aggressive behavior. The wound from being the recipient of someone else’s sarcasm is not physical, but emotional and psychological.

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Sarcasm doesn’t draw people, and endear them to us, it embitters and makes them want to repel from the relationship. Sarcasm builds up walls between us and the people we love. It causes others to feel like they have to walk on eggshells around us. Sarcasm is a way of telling others that they’re a fool for not doing something the way we would.

The answer to sarcasm is honesty. Be honest about how we truly feel. If someone consistently does something that annoys us, express how that behavior affects us without attacking him or her. Attacking them will never change the situation, but lovingly confronting this issue and how it affects us will.

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Paul the Apostle said that our love must be without hypocrisy; not fake. It should not be based on our own selfish need with the way we think things should be. Remember, God created everyone different, with our own unique set of personality traits. Allow others to be who God made them, and avoid trying to change that person into our image, and we all can avoid falling into the sarcasm trap.

20 comments:

ckhnat said...

I have a problem.

My tongue.

I have hurt people. And thus, I have hurt myself.

When confronted with my problem I have scoffed. Get over it! It was their problem if they couldn't understand my humor.

But they hurt.

And I am sorry.

So sorry.

ckhnat said...

God, forgive me.

God, help me.

It's my tongue and my hands.

Words.

Change me!

I have sinned against You.

Let my words edify others.

Let them be objects of beauty that magnify you.

Ruth said...

Hey Christine,

What great humility you have shown.

I found your post very thought provoking. Sarcasm is a big part of Aussie culture - so entrenched are we, that I can't decide whether I personally use it or not. You have given me food for thought for the day. Thank you.

sajini said...

Hows the book going? i need to work on my tongue too :).. you are not alone my sister!!!

John Dekker said...

Yeah, I can be quite sarcastic as well. Sometimes I'm quite proud of it as well, and call it irony.

This is a good article on the theology of sarcasm.

Ryan DeBarr said...

Jesus and the prophets used sarcasm. It's not sinful. How we use it is sinful.

I personally, can't find that balance, so I try to stay away from sarcasm completely.

CraigS said...

I agree, and a consistently sarcastic person is pretty unpleasant to be around.

But I think there may be a difference between sarcasm and irony. The bible is full of irony, some of it a bit cutting.

Where do we draw the line?

CraigS said...

Gosh, we all posted at once...you are clearly flavour of the month Christine...

ckhnat said...

pistachio-lime swirl

John Dekker said...

Oh, is that what you meant! You said "pistachio" last time. I thought it was something like Bertie Wooster's "Pshaw".

John Dekker said...

Anyway, Craig - the link I posted has some good things to say about the difference between irony and sarcasm.

It's just that sometimes I blur the distinction in order to justify myself.

Ruth said...

As Christians surely we should be speakers of the truth - with sincerity and in love? Sarcasm is easily misunderstood, and often putting down the other person. That's not that loving.

There is sarcarsm that doesn't put down the other person though.

Irony, though, I love irony. (when I get it!)

ckhnat said...

You are so resourceful, J.D.

Okay, you guys keep me accountable.

No harmful sarcasm.

I mean it.

This is a deep rooted sin that has to be removed by the Holy Spirit. I am powerless in my own strength.

sajini said...

You are welcome to come out here anytime!! I mean that!!

The Borg said...

I use sarcasm a lot, and I don't think that I usually use it to mock (people often don't get it though!). In the past, I was much harsher, and I think that God is changing me in this way. Praise him. That is not to say that I'm not still careless.

I think sarcasm in its sanctified form of irony is great. I came into work to collect my pay, and the kitchen lady said "You can't have it. We spent it all on chocolate frogs." Cute sarcasm.

Priscilla said...

It all depends on how it's done. If it's done right, it can be amusing...and still get a point across without hurt feelings.

So, "the borg", what on earth are you doing up so early?

Priscilla said...

So I noticed and I quote, "sarcasm doesn't draw people." So was sarcasm the artist for the picture?

Priscilla said...

Oh dear. I just realized "the borg" is from Australia. That ought to explain it!

ckhnat said...

i said something sarcastic today to a friend. but then she called me a fool. so i didn't feel so bad. it shows she loves me.

John Dekker said...

but then she called me a fool. so i didn't feel so bad. it shows she loves me.

I seem to recall hearing something about calling people a fool...it must have been a long time ago... what was it?

Nope... lost it.