Proverbs 29:8, “Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise [men] turn away wrath.”
Scornful people. I purposely chose a verse for this post that is not the one about sitting in the seat of the scornful. We may know that one too well and miss its impact.
The modern term for a scornful person is a sarcastic person. And many of us have realized that sarcasm can be a double-edged sword, as it is just so stinkin’ funny! So while we realize that it can be spirit-killing when directed against other people, we find it hard not to laugh. We may go almost an entire lifetime without realizing the damage we do with that laughter . . . until someone directs sarcasm against us in an open way.
How can sarcasm be used in a way that is not scornful and doesn’t kill the spirits of the people around us, many of whom are also blood-bought believers in Jesus, just like we are?
I think we can use it in a general way to comment on society and the immense number of contradictions we see in it. If we don’t single people out for sarcasm, we will hopefully not kill anybody’s spirit. It is a real danger.
We ourselves are often big packages of contradictions, so we need to keep that in mind, too. Our sarcasm makes fun of the frailty and contradictions of human flesh, but we, too, inhabit that flesh.
We can also use sarcasm against ourselves. One of my best friends is a master at this. He is hilarious, but he rarely makes fun of anyone but himself. And when he does make fun of someone else (like me!!!), he makes sure in advance that it is someone who understands his humor and will take it for what it is.
I think he has taught me that the people who have the ability to be the funniest also have the responsibility to master that gift and to not use it in a spirit-killing way.
As I learn to use humor to make fun of myself mostly, I realize that there is always the danger that someone will take me seriously and think I really am a loser!
But I am also learning to leave that to the Lord. The people who know me well know where I am coming from. Hopefully others will get to know me or will give me the benefit of the doubt, if unsure. But . . . in all truth, it is a small price to pay to have others, here and there, think I am a loser because I have learned to make fun of myself instead of them. That way, I guarantee that my humor will not kill the spirits of others, even those who may regard me as a loser (ironically).
I know the Lord is pleased with all of us who purposefully decide to only use humor in ways that affirm others and uphold life.