During lunch last week, my daughter and I were talking about communication within relationships when the subject of sarcasm came up. Anna is a wordsmith by degree and life-experience. She shared with me the word sarcasm means “to tear the flesh.” While I have never liked sarcasm, after hearing what it means, I disliked it even more.
When sarcasm is used in an attempt at humor, people may chuckle and smile at the sarcastic humor, but the recipient has their emotional “flesh” torn in the process. Some individuals, families, and social groups would not know how to relate to each other without using sarcasm. It is not as innocent as it appears. Being around people or groups that use sarcasm is not pleasant. In fact, I try to limit my interaction with people who continuously use sarcasm as a means of communication.
If you share a similar dislike for sarcasm, the next time you are in a social gathering, try not responding or participating when it occurs. If someone asks you why you are not joining in or “What’s the matter with you?” wisely and lovingly, simply explain you don’t want to tear anyone’s emotional flesh. You can tell if people get it when they don’t use mockery to put down your new-found understanding. When sarcasm is exposed, and people don’t like what they hear, many times mockery is the verbal sword they draw and wield in an attempt to cut off and silence the uncomfortable correction. These corrective interactions are never easy or without difficulty, especially with people you know and love, but it is right and the way of honor.
If you have been a sarcasm dispenser, and you wonder why some relationships are not able to go deeper, try a different way to relate to others. The coming New Year would be an excellent time to commit to getting rid of sarcasm in all its forms and learn a new and honoring way to communicate. Your new-found method of communication will help to mend torn flesh and restore broken relationships.
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:6).