Waging war against my poison tongue…

October 16, 2007

I once had a recent acquaintance, eventually to become a good friend, approach me and say that they had figured out what it was about me that had always seemed so unusual, but which – until that moment – that couldn’t put their finger on: “You are completely without sarcasm, and that’s refreshing.” Oh how the mighty have fallen! These days my wife probably hears it the most – the regular cracks & cut-ups – poor attempts at being witty – all for the hope of getting a chuckle. What a waste!

Think about what you like most about people – think of those you could spend almost all of your time with: what sets them apart? Sure, a sense of humor can push someone over the top, for a time, but constant ‘kidding’ grows old fast, and a good laugh only goes so far towards deepening intimacy. In fact, I know that many feel more guarded around those who are ‘funny’ – around ‘the life of the party’. Why? Someone will be the ‘butt’ of their next joke, and it may very well be you. There are certain individuals who are so constantly ‘on-stage’ – ‘performing’, so to say – that they are absolutely ‘un-safe’ to be around, emotionally: it’s almost impossible to discern when they’re serious or joking, and there is an almost constant residual fear that you are somehow being ‘pranked’.

Honestly, when I think about those who have impacted me most – even though I have a few very funny friends – it is those friends who are the most trustworthy, reliable, and sincere – who’s words I never second guess. Granted, few of them are stand-up comedians, but they are the sort of friend for whom it is indeed true that “the wounds of a friend can be trusted”, as you’ll never be the ‘butt’ of a joke intended to make them look good in everyone else’s eyes.

Looking back over the past few years, the growth of my sarcastic edge pains me, as I’ve seen how badly sarcasm has wounded some close to me. Here’s the Biblical truth we need to constantly remind ourselves of: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.'” (i.e. – mean what you say) and “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (i.e. – what we speak has the power to build up and harm others).

It felt good to be a person that can be trusted – whom others can confide it – who can be relied upon to do what he/she says. It doesn’t feel nearly as good to be thought of as ‘funny’ or ‘entertaining’.

Please pray that I will regain a sense of ‘innocence’ in how and what I speak, and I will pray the same for you.



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