Did you notice that God hardly ever uses sarcasm?
We are told to “Build up one another” and “Be kind to one another” and “only allow a word that is fit for edification to come out of our mouths.” But boy, That is easier read than done!
A woman came into our service last night and commented on our renovation of our sanctuary “Pastor they are working so extremely quick, its amazing!” I reminded her “Well, demolition is always a lot faster and easier than any construction.” As I said those words, I couldn’t help but recall an old poem:
A Builder Or a Wrecker?
As I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town
With a ho-heave-ho, and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and the side wall fell
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
And the men you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No, indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.”
“I can easily wreck in a day or two,
What builders have taken years to do.”
And I thought to myself, as I went my way
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square?
Am I shaping my work to a well-made plan
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks to town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
“O Lord let my life and my labors be
That which will build for eternity!”
How easy it is to put someone down and then to add “I’m just kidding!” I was so known for that in my younger days that I would abbreviate the phrase “IJK” and everyone knew what I meant. Sad.
Truth is, the Scriptures warn us to not joke around with each other because of the great hurt we can bring others without intending to do so.
“Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.” Proverbs 26:18-19
Jesus said “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Even if you are just kidding around, there is often a particle of truth in your exaggeration or in your words that leaves a person with a question of how you might really feel about them.
Think of the people you enjoy being around and the ones that you would like to be more like. Chances are that they are not people who use much sarcasm at all and seldom, if ever, say anything but kind uplifting things to you and others. The Bible says “And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips.” Luke 4:22
It would be good to ask ourselves from time to time:
Do gracious words fall from my lips so much that people are amazed? Or are people amazed at other words that fall from my lips?
It is interesting to see that when people are filled with the Holy Spirit, it immediately affects the words they speak. They suddenly start giving praise to God and can’t help but speak in an encouraging and edifying way. (Cf. Acts 2:11)
The question is “Who’s got your tongue?” The Holy Spirit or some other spirit? (Compare Acts 2:4 and James 3:6)
It matters and no… I’m not kidding!
Great post Pastor Bob! So often we wound people with our words spoken in jest. A person with a sharp tongue is a dangerous person indeed!
Thank you for the wonderful (and practical) reminder!
“The question is “Who’s got your tongue?” The Holy Spirit or some other spirit?”, that is such a great phrase Pastor Bob! It is so true that we use “JK” as a cover-up for a hurtful comment we make towards someone, when the fact is God has called us to encourage and love each other. I think we can really underestimate the meaning of our words and think that everyone is going to take our “playful or witty” comment as a joke. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” God did not give us sarcasm to be filled with.
Thank you so much for your post what a great reminder to watch my mouth.
Wow! I never really thought about this before, and the odd thing is I was just teaching my step kid about not using her gift of being funny to hurt others I even had her memorise the fruit of the spirit, so how neat it is to read this post and read Andrea’s reply, I think God might be telling me to make sure I am applying this to my self even in the smallest way, cause I suppose we teach kids more in action then in what we say, and I never thought about it but yea even small little jokes can prove to be a bad witness.
I remember my Mother washing my mouth out with soap and water when I was young. She is 95 years old now and told me that is one thing she wished she had never done. As I read this, the taste of soap came back to me. I called her after I read this and told her that what she did was a reminder of how hurtful words can make me feel, especially if I say them. Maybe I will put my soap dish out and do some mouth washing and pray that the Holy Spirit will guard my lip’s before I say any hurtful words.
Judy Salazar Thank you for your words. So often we forget just how hurtful jesting can be, and how much a kind word can uplift. May we all walk in love towrds one another and speak apples of gold.
I see this among the younger generation, especially, and it hurts to see them act this way with each other! Thanks for posting this timely message. ^_^
Excellent reminder Pastor Bob! I needed to hear that. Although I once was one who lived by the phrase, “I’m just joking”, and God has done the work of changing me, I do realize I there’s more work to be done.
Praise God for His mercy and grace and for His Holy Spirit Who is making us more into His image everyday.
Wow! this is powerful. So glad and blessed that you are blogging !!!
Bob: I know this to be true. When playing football, it was always easier to play defense. Our mission was to seek and destroy, ruin what the offense was trying to do. It was not as coordinated as playing on the offensive side of the football. Over there, on offense, your trying to build something. A touchdown! It takes much more precision and discipline to play on the offensive side of the ball. It also takes much more discipline to be an uplifting person. Anyone can be a wrecker.
Amen! “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Thanks Bob – Sad but true – we can cause such pian by being thoughtless. Just kidding can never take back the sting of an unkind word.
Bob, The Lord was just speaking to me about this today, I just happend to look at this today and was reminded about my prayer of asking God to help me be less sarcastic. I heard a man in the Christian bookstore today on his cell phone and he made a sarcastic comment to a friend. His phone was so loud I could her the whole conversation. He put the man’s wife down but made it sound like a joke and I thought, “THat was so mean” and I remebered how I am capable of that at times, so my prayer was that God would teach me how not to be sarcastic. Love the poem. Thanks for being an answer to prayer today 🙂
This message could not have come at a better time. My daughter is facing this challenge. I’ve just spent hours trying to locate God’s Wisdom on how she should handle the matter. It is 11:19 p.m. and to me the wee hours. I need sleep but God needed my attention. Not by chance that I went to your website. Blessings to you my dear Pastor.