Sarcasm | Mark’s Remarks

marksI have been sarcastic my whole life. I never thought it was a problem. I pride myself on having a sense of humor. I enjoy the attention that being funny gets me. But my sarcasm isn’t always put out there in a joking manner. I’m guilty.

Someone said something interesting to me a few days ago. “Sarcasm is an act of violence.” Immediately, I rejected that idea. How in the world could something as harmless as sarcasm be compared to violent acts?

Some noted biblical scholars have written on the topic of sarcasm. I read where one man said sarcasm was a tool for the weak. Another author said sarcasmwas a tool used by strong people who want to hurt others. Therefore, it is a violent act.

I’m sure it’s happened to you. You’ve had a conversation where you thought someone was being kind to you, only to find out later the person was being snarky and sarcastic. Yes, it hurts us. I’ve done it. But is it really violent?

As I sit here and type, I can tell you countless stories of people who have said things to me that hurt my feelings. Being a man, I try to shake off such comments and I try to act as though comments don’t bother me. Be tough about it.

I sit a little longer and I can come up with double or triple the number of stories in which I was the one who was doing the hurting. Seems I’ve intentionally hurt people’s feelings just as much and probably lots more than they have hurt mine; and I’ve done it all on purpose. I meant to do it. For whatever reason, I felt that it was the right thing to do at the time.

I’ve written enough about my beliefs and I’ve talked to others enough about my faith that some folks call me a Christian. Some folks, I’m afraid, probably have no idea I’m a Christian. To me, that’s shameful.

Sarcasm is one of the qualities that can really mask what a Christian is supposed to be, in my opinion, and it’s probably one of the biggest reasons why some folks don’t know what I’m all about. They’ve been witness to my sarcasm and my snarkiness.

Jesus spoke about peace quite a bit, didn’t he? I don’t think he was just talking about physical violence, though. The message of peace should extend to every part of our lives, and that includes the things that come out of our mouths.

My grandma used to talk about her sharp tongue. Now, if you knew her, you would wonder how such a sweet little lady could think she had a sharp tongue. But apparently, she knew her heart and she was ashamed, at times, of the things that she said to others.

Sarcasm really is violent. I’m convinced now. When we use it, we seek to cut others down. Many times, we forget about what we have said and we forget that some of the pain our words have caused lingers. Some folks are unable to forget the words of others. Indeed, some of us hold on to those words for the rest of their lives.

How often have you said something, only to be confronted by someone? Caught off guard, you reply that your statement or comment  joke at all. Those really were violent words.

Are there times when sarcasm is OK? Well, yes. I think jokes are OK sometimes when used in the right way. I mean, even Jesus used it at times. But it wasn’t and isn’t meant to hurt when it really IS used in a joking manner.

We must remember how powerful words are.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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