A Surprise Lesson on Sarcasm and Leadership

When I embark on a 21 day fast I pray about what the Holy Spirit wants me to go after and sarcasm was not on the list.

I never thought in a million years that the Lord would highlight sarcasm in this fast. I admit that I was totally surprised by this yet I know when the Lord is speaking. So I submitted to the Lord and asked for both wisdom and revelation.

I love how the Holy Spirit teaches me and points out even the littlest details to make me a better leader. I believe this is one of them.

The items listed below I own as my growing conviction and don’t in any way want to put them on you the reader. Nonetheless, if the Lord uses what He is teaching me to reveal something to you, then be open.

Here are a few things I sense the Lord showing me in regards to sarcasm and leadership.

  1. Sarcasm uses irony to criticize. It introduces an element of humor to make the criticism less aggressive, yet the criticism remains cloaked in the sarcasm. Not good.
  2. The original meaning of sarcasm in the Greek means, “to tear the flesh, to speak bitterly.” This original meaning was a bit shocking to me.
  3. Sarcasm can be dishonoring and flows against how we are to communicate with others found in Ephesians 4:15 which says that we are to “speak the truth in love.” It’s better to be straight-up with love then to tear-down with sarcasm.
  4. Sarcasm is not a good leadership skill. It can cause both suspicion and disrespect in the heart of those whom are following the leader. If not checked, the whole team will wind up being sarcastic.
  5. Sarcasm is hard to manage. We will make mistakes. In light of our American culture, which is very sarcastic, we need to swim upstream by releasing both appreciation and encouragement.
  6. Sarcasm cheapens relationships by keeping people guessing about what is being said and leaves them to think, “what are they REALLY saying?” You cannot build a level of solid trust and respect with this approach.
  7. Sarcasm belittles people. Sarcasm makes people feel little, talked down to and made fun of.
  8. Leadership built on sarcasm is controlling. If we are not careful we will use sarcasm to dominate those whom we lead. For some, this is their style of leadership, which ultimately communicates the possibility of bitterness and insecurity in the heart.

Leading through honor builds up, gives life, confronts in love, appreciates, encourages and brings people around you. Leading through honor respects the dignity of others while intentionally growing them. It’s a far better way to lead.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this? 

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  1. Bill scofield Feb 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Dang good post Greg! Very insightful observations about sarcasm. Thanks.

    1. Greg Feb 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Bill — Thanks. Hope all is well 😉

  2. La Nelle Parker Feb 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Greg, I could not agree with you more. Sarcasm is the lowest form of communication and it never builds up, it only tears down. I have a serious issue with “teasing”, which is often related in my option. The person being teased never knows for certain if the comment was made to be funny or if the person speaking really feels that way.

    While in college, I saw the devastating effects of “teasing” so to speak when I was in Texas Woman Univesity’s literary social club, their answer to a sorority. We were being initiated, and the pledge that was over the top in performance was singled out to “not make the cut.” I saw her face and still remember how broken she was, being told in front of all of us that we were all chosen but one, Roberta Chillington. I knew that I had not done well, as I had felt a disdain for the whole process and knew I had made a mistake in joining, so the guilt I felt was pretty strong. Within a short time, seemed like hours, the pledges decided that they either took all of us or none of us. This was the purpose of the move, in the first place. So, we stood our ground, they had to take Roberta and life went on, BUT I always wondered what were the effects on her. No matter what they told her, would she ever believe that she was used a bait to get us to be unified? I have thought about her hundreds of times, wondering about the effects of such a move. The only communication that seems Godly to me is when we are doing our best to be clear and honest, speaking in love.

    Can you tell I have strong feelings on this subject? Thanks for your great insights…
    La Nelle

    1. Greg Feb 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      La Nelle, you make an interesting point. Is teasing a form, in some way, of sarcasm? I never really thought about that.

      I do concur with you about the damage we do out of our own ignorance. I really don’t know where we draw the line. The life story is sobering and thought provoking.

      Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. kathy d Feb 7, 2012 at 9:34 am

    not surprising excellent blog. and a more excellent job yesterday in the teaching!! this is the kind of teaching that really needs to be loud and clear from the pulpits consistently. I so appreciate that you are not afraid to do that. You deliver in love which allows us to really hear. And we all needed to hear that!!!

    1. Greg Feb 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Great to hear from you Kath. I really don’t know how else to teach. If it’s not apart of me then I really don’t have the right to “let it go.”

      I want to keep growing as a Kingdom leader who lives biblically and releases life with both actions and words. Thanks for sharing! 😉

  4. Child of God Feb 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Sarcasm, teasing, lying they all have a similar component; they are not the truth. God wants us to focus our mind on things uplifting, positive things that are of Him. We are to build each other up in the faith so how can we do this if we are sarcastic? We can’t.

    Good post, I love how the Spirit of God leads when one is in a fast. 🙂


    1. Greg Feb 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      It’s been almost 3 weeks since the 21 day fast and I now am clearly aware of when I fall into sarcasm. Now I just stop mid-sentence. That’s a good thing.

      Looking forward to seeing how this develops in the future. Speaking the truth in love is a far better way to go. 🙂

  5. Sandra Feb 10, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I really appreciate all the lessons in here..Thanks for the info..I will share this to my friends..

  6. charis Feb 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    i really appreciate this post. sarcasm is so prevalent in the media and unfortunately it has become that way in a lot of the church as well. i am one who never has been very “talented” at sarcasm and often am not sure when someone is joking or serious and how to respond. i think you listed great reasons for all of us to watch how we communicate to others, even beyond controlling sarcasm. thank you.

    my recent post: the highest calling

    1. Greg Feb 13, 2012 at 6:57 am

      Charis, I’m glad you are “not talented” at sarcasm. 😉 Sarcastic people eventually confuse others and weaken their leadership (influence) in the lives of others. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kimberly Aug 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for your article on Sarcasm. You have just validated what I was feeling and what I thought. God. Bless.

    1. Greg Simas Aug 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Hello Kimberly. So glad this helped you and validated your thoughts on this.

  8. Simon Dec 14, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks Greg, for your blog I have been following through all your teaching, I feel like God is changing me, even the approach to my ministry, I must say God is with me.

    1. Greg Simas Dec 15, 2019 at 5:46 am

      Thanks, Simon. Love your testimony about the blog. Blessings!


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