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I have been thinking a lot about sarcasm. How many people use it while trying to be funny…and in it’s place, it may be, but all too often it goes a bit too far and causes damage. I looked up the definition and was a bit taken back:

Sarcasm:
1. the use of irony to mock or convey contempt:
2. the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny:
3.a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain:
4. a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual

The whole intent of sarcasm is to hurt or mock. Only 1 short statement about sarcasm is to be funny, while the rest is to put down another person.

A couple years ago I was reading The Screwtape Letter’s by C.S. Lewis and I remember this passage about laughter. It is probably the section that I remember the most about that book. The book is a collection of letters from a “Lead’ Demon as he instructs a subordinate to discourage, distract and bring defeat to the soul of a human man. The following is a passage on laughter.

 MY DEAR WORMWOOD…I divide the causes of human laughter into Joy, Fun, the Joke Proper, and Flippancy.

You will see the [Joy] among friends and lovers reunited on the eve of a holiday…

Fun is closely related to Joy—a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct. It is very little use to us….it has wholly undesirable tendencies; it promotes charity, courage, contentment, and many other evils.

The Joke Proper, which turns on sudden perception of incongruity, is a much more promising field…The real use of Jokes or Humour is in quite a different direction…it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame…

But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny.

Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it.

If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter.

It is a thousand miles away from joy it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it.

Your affectionate uncle, SCREWTAPE

I had never thought of how the enemy of our souls could use laughter against us but how true it is. While reading this passage I remember instantly thinking of sarcasm. That flippant witty joke that pokes just a little fun at someone else and how damaging that can be even if that isn’t the intent.

I grew up with sarcasm. It was the way that we had fun, laughed, it was in our general conversation. I trust that the conscious motive behind it wasn’t to hurt one another, but in all honestly, the jokes were often at someone’s expense. When I was reading this book, I made an active choice, to start to stop using sarcasm. It has been a process to learn to think and speak with out it, towards others and towards myself. I haven’t made it completely and sometimes when I am around my family I fall back into that pattern of speaking, but I work on it.

The Bible has a lot to say about our speech. In 1 Corinthians 14:3 it reads, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation and, comfort.” We are to “be holy in all manner of conversation:” 1 Peter 1:15. To be an “example of the believes, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” 1 Timothy 4:12. In Philippians 1:27 it says to “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:…that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. And in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” To be careful with what words we say, Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider no that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine hear be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” And lastly but certainly not the last mention of it, James 1:19-20 “Wherefore, my beloved bretheren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

From these few scriptures we find that we are to be careful with what we say, to take a few seconds to think about and consider the words before we speak them. That every word is to build and edify one another and to not harm or hinder. What we say is an example to those around us of a true Christ-like life.

Sarcasm works among friends, spouses, family, saints, acquaintances and enemies. But it is most dangerous among those that are in fellowship. It can hurt and divide saints, spouses, and families. If it doesn’t lift up or edify, think twice before saying it, even if it is just a joke and you think they can take it.

Not only can we be sarcastic and flippant with others, but also with ourselves. We can make jokes, comments, at our own expense that demean or lower our worth. This isn’t an act of being humble, in fact it’s unfair and often untrue regarding our actual worth. It works like this, when someone complements us and our comment is one that would put ourselves down or minimize who/what we are or have done. The enemy can use this to discourage us and make us think we are not doing our best or are that we aren’t saved.

Don’t get me wrong, humor is good. Jokes can be funny. Irony and “sarcasm” in a pure sense (if it can be so) is ok. Can be useful and even a help. But it is when it crosses the line to causing hurt that it has gone to far. I don’t want to say that we can never laugh or joke around. But we do need to be considerate of others and what we are saying.

I am challenging myself once again to be careful in my thoughts and words about others and myself. That the statements are true and not mocking or harmful. Honesty is ok, consideration is a must, and laughter is needed, but harmful, digging, and insulting words are not.

“Only let your conversation be as it [exemplifies] the gospel of Christ:”…”[speaking] unto men [for] edification, and exhortation and, comfort”

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My life has been quite uncertain lately. My job is not very stable, my home may be taken from me, there is great sickness in my family and yet through all of this I have peace. When people ask how I am, I can only say that I am good. God is good. It is because of him that I can go on. My trust in him is what keeps me on a level keel when the sea of life is tossing.

In my devotions a while back I was looking for scriptures in which I can continue to place my trust. I had been reading in Hebrews about those that have gone before us in faith. I was at the last chapter and this is what I found.

King James Version – Heb 13:1-8
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

I have a couple other Bibles that I use for reference and I looked up the same passage in them.

The Amplified Version – Hebrews 13:5-6
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money – [including] greed, avarice, lust and craving for earthly possessions – and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He (God) Himself said, I will not in any way leave you with out support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless, not forsake not let [you] down, [relax My hold on you]. – Assuredly not!
So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not be seized with alarm – I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?

Interlinear Greek-English New Testament – Hebrews 13:5-6
Without love of money [let your] manner of life [be], satisfied with present [circumstances]; he for has said, In no wise thee will I leave, not in any wise thee will I forsake.
So that we may boldly say, [The] Lord [is] to me a helper, and I will not be afraid: what shall do to me man?

I have held on to these verses. We can feel contentment in our lives even though it seams that the bottom has fallen out because God has promised to be our provider. With this confidence we can boldly and with experienced knowledge say “Who or what can come against me? God is my helper, I don’t have to be afraid.”

Because of this we can be well in our soul, spirit, and attitude even though life isn’t well.

NOTE: Not to negate the fact that we use the Bible only to live by, we can use other publications as tools, to help us better understand different facets of our lives. In this study, we are using The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, which is based on Biblical principles to help give a greater understanding on effectively communicating love to one another.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

There is a time for everything. The Ecclesiastes writer explains this to us.

 Ecclesiastes 3:8  A time to love…

 The time to love, is NOW.

 Love Language #2 – Quality Time

 The one that understands love though the language of “Quality Time” desires more than just being in the same general space. They want to be together focused on something that is enjoyed with full attention. Dr. Chapman reiterates this, “A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity…Togetherness has to do with focused attention.” But on the other hand, quality time is not gazing into each there’s eyes for hours on end, it is doing or discussing something of importance.

 Like with all other languages, quality time has different dialects: quality conversation and quality activities.

 Quality conversation or “sympathetic dialog” focuses on drawing each other out and listening to what is being said with out interrupting or voicing your opinion, unless requested. It can be about ones day, or other topics that are of interest to you. But during the conversation, either partner can’t be doing something else, that would not be considered quality time. Our focus needs to be on one another and not other tasks at hand.

 Quality activities usually have a task involved that is enjoyed by one or both parties, but that is done in love. This dialect can be spoken through cleaning the car, taking a walk, or building a bookshelf, always together. Again there is an emphasis on being focused on each other, more than the task at hand. You goal is to your loved one that you love them.

 If we are not talkers and our loved one is, we need to learn to talk, engage, and express our feelings with them. If we are most comfortable by ourselves doing our own thing, we need to make sure to take the time and spend it with those that we love, especially if they understand love through quality time. Again remember love is a choice and we can choose to communicate love. For our communication to be effective we have to learn the language of those we love.

 Look around you; do some of your loved ones speak the language of “Quality Time”? Have you loved them today?

Memorial – serving to help people remember some person or event

 

When the world looks at me do they see Jesus?

When the world looks at me what do they see?

Do they see hope?

Do they see love?

Do they see charity?

When the world looks at me what do they see?

 

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. KJV

 

Example – something selected to show the nature or character of the rest

Set an example – to behave so as to be a pattern or model for others to imitate 

1 Peter 2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: KJV

 

Word – a promise, affirmation, assurance; as he kept his word

Matthew 5:37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. KJV

“Never swear: for he that swears will lie;

and he that lies will steal;

and, if so, what bad things will he not do!”

 

Conversation – talking together, verbal exchange of ideas or information

Ephesians 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. KJV

“Minister grace unto the hearers”, but grace is unmerited favor, does that mean I’m to speak gently and kindly to others even when they don’t deserve it? I’m sure that is what it means. 

Proverbs 31:26, She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. KJV

 

Charity – the love of God for man or of man for his fellow man

                        The quality of being kind or lenient in judging others

 

John 3:16-17  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. KJV

 

Spirit – real meaning: true intention, attitude

2 Corinthians 9:7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver KJV

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice evermore.   Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV

 

Faith – complete trust; confidence (steadfast adherence)

Mark 11:22  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God KJV

John 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. KJV

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. KJV

 

Purity – free from anything that taints, unmixed, clear

            Free from sin or guilt;

 

1 Peter 1:22-23  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. KJV

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. KJV

 

When the world looks at me do they see Jesus?

When the world looks at me what do they see?

Do they see hope?

Do they see love?

Do they see charity?

When the world looks at me what do they see?

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