Leadership

Lessons I Am Learning After Turning Off Sarcasm

It’s been about five months since the Lord totally blindsided me (in a good way) about the use of Sarcasm in  Leadership while venturing on a 21 day fast. Never in a million years did I actually think this would come up but nonetheless it did.

How much progress have I made since turning off the switch of sarcasm in life and leadership? What have I learned in the journey? How can I encourage you to live a fairly sarcastic-free life?

Ongoing Learning Experience

Here is what I am learning:

  1. Initially, I found myself much quieter in conversations. When sarcasm ends you find out that you might not have much say. Indeed this was the case for me.
  2. I have discovered that I am much more aware when I cross the line into something sarcastic. As soon as I say something sarcastic the Holy Spirit is quick to point it out. Needless to say, the Holy Spirit has been real busy with me over the last 5 months.
  3. I don’t jump in when sarcasm abounds. I am sure people wondered what was up with me. I didn’t try to correct anyone or preach at them. This is my journey not theirs. I just don’t participate.
  4. It appears that sarcasm has virtually stopped happening around me. In other words, the atmosphere around me is not sarcastic. This proves something that I have said for years, “what is in you will eventually be around you.”
  5. I plainly see the ramifications of sarcasm when it’s being used. It’s stinging words are directed to another person whether they are in the room or not, wounding them and creating distance.

Good leadership and sarcasm simply don’t mix. Sarcasm is not beneficial nor constructive.

It’s better to lead out of honor and encouragement.

Ephesians. 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Interesting Article

Interestingly, nearly two weeks after I posted my first article on sarcasm, I came across a blog post from another Senior Pastor on this whole issue of sarcasm. The post is titled, “What Does Being Sarcastic Say About You.” Pete Wilson is a Pastor and Author ministering at the 5,000 attendee Crosspoint Church. Read it here.

I think the Lord is highlighting this area to many.

A Bit of Encouragement

I encourage you to turn-off sarcasm. It’s just not useful. Sarcasm is so embedded in our culture. Turning it off will take focused resolve and plenty of help from the Holy Spirit. As a result, you will be a better person, friend and leader.

Later, I will do a post on the difference between sarcasm and satire. I’m up for satire.

Your thoughts? Do you agree with the idea that sarcasm is not healthy? Have you been a target of sarcasm? How did it affect you?

Greg Simas

• Pastor | Writer | Leader | Coach • Senior Leader of Convergence House of Prayer in SF Bay Area. "Building people whose lives change so they can change lives."

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27 thoughts on “Lessons I Am Learning After Turning Off Sarcasm”

  1. Good word. I have been working on my words. Doing a study of their importance for 6 months. This and Nina’s teaching (that I missed) go perfect with that. I think the Lord is really highlighting how we speak to ourselves and one another. An important step towards him unifying his bride.

    1. As you are well aware – Prov. 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”. This is far more than just positive thinking…it really is a matter of life and death. So glad you are going so deep in your study regarding our words. Thanks for sharing!

      1. I have been tripping on the fact that it is only by our confession of faith that we are saved. It is by the words we speak that truly at the very core determine life and death for us. Where we will spend eternity. Truly the meaning of prov 18:21. Not just how we speak to others. It is so much bigger than I think we can fully comprehend. We are made in the image of a God who created everything that exists by words. My mind is bending like crazy over it all. I mean if He spoke he world and everything in it and we are made in His image what does at imply? What are we missing?

        1. Words are creative. Jesus taught, “say to this mountain…and it will move…nothing will be impossible for you (Matt. 17:20).” Yet we cannot fall into the “name it, claim it” camp. I think that is a dangerous extreme. We are finite, He is infinite. He speaks and worlds are formed. We speak and atmospheres can change. Our words are powerful and I believe that the Holy Spirit is giving us greater revelation on their potential. I love what you are getting. So good!

          1. Ya, I didn’t even link it to name it claim it just the power they have. That each word we speak has significance and we need to weigh what we say very carefully. Linked it more with the need to think before you speak. And being grieved and checked each time I have not done so.

      2. Two verses I found particularly interesting relating to sarcasm are found in Proverbs 29: 8 and Genesis 29: 8. In Proverbs we find “Mockers set a city in flames, but wise men turn away anger.” The story of Jacob meeting Rachel in Genesis is also revealing. After traveling a great distance he sees Rachel’s sheep packed tightly around a well and men standing around not bothering to remove the stone cover from the well. Jacob’s only thought was relieving the sheep of their misery in the mid-day heat so they could set out to pasture so he requested them to move the stone. “No,” they answered. “We must wait till all the sheep have gathered. Only then shall we remove the stone cover.” Without a moments pause Jacob rolls up his sleeves and takes it upon himself to roll the stone away allowing the sheep their drink. He falls in love with Rachel and after working seven years for her hand he is about to kiss his bride. He removes her veil and to his shock it is not Rachel but her older sister, and not a pretty sight. What began as mild sarcasm and jealousy had elevated to downright trickery and deception. I think the lesson is we must brush off the negativity, not get caught in a sarcastic battle of words but focus instead on our dreams and aspirations.

        1. Great lesson here. Getting caught up in the “lessor things” is never worth it. Stay razor-focused on our dreams and aspirations is so much more fruitful in the long run. Thanks, Prince!

  2. “What is in you will eventually be around you.”
    We are swimming in a cynical, sarcastic culture … and it leeches into the Body of Christ. We’re called to live above the line. I like your thought here. Let’s look around us, judge our personal atmosphere, and then go inside and do some house cleaning. Good post!

    1. Right on there @facebook-1407740597:disqus The atmosphere around us should give us a solid indication of what’s inside us.Taking inventory is good thing. Great comment!

  3. To be honest I never experienced sarcasm while sitting under your leadership, so this article surprises me. A lot of laughs and a lot of good times. Maybe you saved the sarcasm for someone else.

    1. Really. Interesting point @twitter-20287075:disqus. You have me thinking about this one. Maybe it’s because your not sarcastic. Or maybe it’s grown over the last few years. Or maybe the Lord isn’t allowing me to get away with anything along these lines. I’m glad, though, that you never experienced it. 🙂

  4. Sarcasm is usually a defense or way to feel secure around others, and it is unhealthy. Growing up and not being able to love myself well, it subconsciously was easier to bring others down to my level than to be happy for them and their successes. I have learned to cut out most of my sarcasm and turned it into witty and clever humor. The only time I use sarcasm is for initial rapport with a new person but I quickly change to encouragement once they understand they can be safe around me.

    1. Love seeing the growth in you, Cory. So true! I have found that sarcasm is defended by so many and that when others pull back from it – it appears to be and over reaction to them. Not true. You hit the nail on the head. It often comes from places of insecurity. Just wandering, are you working on the “initial report” with others. It would be good to encourage people right out of
      the gate. 😉

  5. Sarcasm has always felt immature and ungodly to me. Before I was saved it was constantly flowing out of my mouth, and the Lord refined it just as with cussing or any other bad word practices. Mostly because I felt like I was the subject of sarcastic remarks and it cut me and hurt. Being a sensitive individual I quickly became aware of the painfulness of sarcasm and ran the other way from it. Several years later, I found many believers using it and it really confused me, and I slipped back into it for a while. But after sitting in God’s presence in the prayer room, it began to disgust me along with cynicism, and negativity, like complaining. Ewe! It just plain makes me nauseous! Thats not who I want to be or what I want to be around! I look forward to more posts on this and confronting sarcasm and it’s ugly cousin (cynicism)!

    1. What concerns me is the growing approval of things that the Lord delivered us from and are not good for both edification and growth in others. It’s finding it’s way into the church as “freedom”. The lines are being blurred yet I don’t believe are biblical. It’s complicated. Your testimony rings true for so
      many. Straight up, sarcasm hurts and is painful to the one receiving it. If we are going to make the leap to being an effective godly leader, sarcasm needs to be tossed out and cynicism might not be to far behind. Great comment @ginahyatt:disqus.

  6. ‘What is in you will eventually be around you.’ That’s a good word. I think I’ll have a Selah moment right here.

  7. Hi Greg,
    I agree with you that sarcasm is not healthy, it stings and can really discourage someone. I believe sarcasm is used to take a swipe at someone in an acceptable but sinister way. I noticed myself doing this to my son just 2 days ago. I was not pleased with his behaviour and I dealt with it in sarcasm instead of in a healthy way. 🙁 He was quick to say to me, “Mom, you don’t need to be sarcastic to me.” Ouch!

    Good for you for going 5 months without being sarcastic!! God, He is so good!

    Blessings,
    <

    1. I’m not yet “sarcastic free…” but I am now really aware of it and I know when I cross the line. The change has been really healthy in my relationships all-around. And you’re right about how “sinister” sarcasm can be.

  8. I have been learning the hard way lately that sarcasm is not useful and it does more harm than good. In my workplace, sarcasm is what gets us through stressful situations and is a means of avoiding confronting conflict the right way. Sarcasm, I’m finding is just not necessary because the listener may take what you say literally and not understand your sarcasm. I know for myself, I have wrongfully adopted a sarcastic and cynical attitude at work, and it has been hurting people lately. I have had to apologize to two people in the last week because of the way I said something or what I said hurt
    them

    1. …so I am learning that it is definitely not glorifying God, and needs to be cut out of my communication because of that.

    2. Hello Smartie. So glad you are learning this. I totally agree with what you are saying here. We often cross over the line many times until we finally “get it” that sarcasm is just not worth it. I have pretty sarcastic-free for about a year. I do catch myself being sarcastic on occasion. I recognize it, learn from it and move on. It’s better to speak life than be sarcastic anytime. 😉

  9. I grew up with a sarcastic mother. She truly felt the best way to raise children (myself and six-year-older brother) was to shame us into doing right. Not to blame her, it was the way she was raised. But, it crippled me. I could never do anything right in her eyes, I believed. I did not truly believe she loved me until the Holy Spirit spent the ladt ten years working on me. I have always been unsuccessful in my “public” life, failed at everything. Then I met and married a Born Again Christian man who taught me how to really live what I’d always been taught from the Bible. Forgiveness and hope are tremendously powerful forces. I am closer to God now than ever and though I’m widowed, I am so filled with joy and peace. Sarcasm is deadly. I will not abide it in my life. Thanks for bringing this subject out.

    1. Hello Anna. Welcome to the blog. What an amazing testimony of God’s love and grace in your life. I love how He takes broken things and restores them to their original intent and purposes (of course, I am speaking of you!).
      Sarcasm really is never good at any level. Glad the Lord healed up your heart to see sarcasm for what it really is. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

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