Does God hate sarcasm?
I love the church I go to. It’s probably my favorite church of all time, except for the one my dad started at a car wash.
But a few weeks ago, a stand-in minister, who was great although he didn’t have a beard which I often associate with wisdom, made a point that I’m pretty sure God hates.
Here’s the setup:He was talking about how in good marriages you need to know if your spouse is a safe person or an unsafe person. On one column of the bulletin he had signs that they were unsafe and on the other signs they were safe. The information was fill in the blank so that me and the other 5,000 people in the crowd could play along.
I read ahead because TiVo has ruined my attention span and here’s what I saw for his last point:
________ humor Words of _______
I instantly started to rack my brain with words he could put in there under the unsafe column instead of the one I feared. Hateful? Mean-spirited? Unfunny? (Let’s be honest, being consistently around someone unfunny would be a fairly serious marital problem.)
Any of those options would have worked perfectly, but before I could stand up and suggest one he said “And the last sign that you’re spouse is unsafe is that they use sarcastic humor instead of words of life.”
Here are three reasons I think that’s wrong:
1. God was sarcastic.
In one of my favorite and least quoted verses in the Bible, God delivers some classic sarcasm to his buddy Moses. Basically, in Numbers 11:23 Moses does one of his “you gotta be kidding me God” monologues about how there’s no way there will be enough meat for the Israelites. This is God’s response: “”Is the Lord’s arm too short?” At that point in their relationship Moses had witnessed God open and close the Red Sea, rain frogs from the heavens and countless other miracles. Was God really asking Moses about the length of his arm? No, He was being sarcastic.
2. People that God dug were sarcastic.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is on top of a mountain seeing whose God can light an altar with fire. The prophets of Baal are freaking out because Elijah is playing head games with them by throwing water on his altar. Then in verse 27 it says:At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”Clearly, sarcastic. And how does God respond? He lights the altar on fire for Elijah and all the other prophets are slaughtered. I don’t know Hebrew, but I’m pretty sure that’s an indication that God is a huge fan of sarcasm.
3. I’m sarcastic.
It’s entirely possible that when I’m more mature in my faith God is going to ask me to give up sarcasm. I might just have bigger issues to work on right now. Like honesty. Good Lord, sometimes I lie for no reason. Like instead of saying “I saw something interesting on TV last night” I sometimes catch myself saying “I saw something interesting in a book” just because I want complete strangers to think I’m smart. That’s ridiculous. Obviously God doesn’t want me to lie, but until sarcasm is added as the eleventh commandment, I can’t accept that when it comes to communicating, the opposite of words of life is sarcastic humor.