Have you ever fallen prey to sarcastic people? Sarcasm is a powerful weapon, but often so well disguised that we don’t recognize it until we have battle wounds that need healing. Sarcastic people often minimize the effects of sarcasm by saying, “I was only joking,” or “Don’t be so sensitive.” Sarcasm may seem innocent, but check it out. In Greek, sarcasm means to tear flesh. Ouch! Our words are supposed to build up, not tear down.
Sarcastic remarks appear to be true but are really insincere comments spoken with malicious intent.
For example, have you ever heard accusations like the following?
“All you care about is yourself. You’re so perfect and close to God. I love you, too. Have a great day.”
“You’re never wrong. Always the Christian. Must be nice to be so spiritual. I wish you the best.”
“You don’t care about me I thought you were a Christian But of course, you’re always right!”
Do you any similarities? Typically, there is a pattern: An accusation…followed by a sarcastic remark…and then concealed with a comment that spoken by itself would seem sincere, but in reality is another dose of sarcasm to conceal the true intent.
Without the first comment, the statements that follow could easily be taken at face value, but there lies the confusion that sarcasm generates—it’s an invitation to indulge in a game of tongue wars. So how do we defend ourselves people who use sarcasm to belittle us, accuse us, threaten or manipulate? Two ways: First, the best way to protect yourself against sarcasm is to learn how to recognize it. Gird yourselves with truth so you are not vulnerable. Just like Satan conceals bait with an attractive lure, people who manipulate often disguise their anger and sarcasm with seemingly innocent comments spoken in jest that beg for battle rounds.
In my first marriage, my own insecurities left me defenseless against sarcasm and manipulation. It wasn’t until I learned the truth about boundaries that I was able to avoid allowing insults, false accusations and manipulation to tear me down.
Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to guard our hearts, for out of it flow the issues of life. Ladies, it is our job to protect our hearts. Our heart is the most valuable asset we own. Don’t allow others to misuse it. Protect it by keeping violators out. We teach others how to treat us. If others use abusive or manipulative language, we have to erect boundaries to protect and guard our hearts. When you know who you are you won’t fall for the lies others try to project on you.
Secondly, don’t engage in the battle. You won’t win. “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words” (Proverbs 4:29). People who indulge in tongue wars always want to have the last word. Sarcastic comments beg for a defense, but that’s a lure to engage you into battle. Resist the urge to defend yourself. Proverbs 26:20 says that without wood, a fire goes out.
And finally, don’t engage in sarcastic talk yourself. Use your words to bless others. Refrain from idle chatter and speak the truth in love. If you need more wisdom in this area, I have a couple of great books to recommend. But first, do you mind if I pray for you?
Father, may you heal my sister’s heart broken by sarcastic words. Show her how much You value her and esteem her life. May your Holy Spirit speak truth to her that will invade her heart and illuminate your love for her. Show her how to use healthy boundaries and guard her heart so she can portray your love to others and walk in your freedom. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
My recommendations for guarding your heart:
The book of Proverbs
Boundaries, When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Cloud and Townsend
Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson