The Boomerangs of Sarcasm and Self-Righteousness

I’ve been struck in the exchanges some of us have been having about American politics (see the previous entry and comments) about the curiously reflexive nature of both sarcasm and self-righteousness—of both of which rhetorics I am, alas, an experienced practitioner!

Regarding sarcasm, I notice how often those who object to it resort to it in return. “Oh, and I suppose that’s not sarcastic!” would be a very mild version of such a retort.

Likewise with self-righteousness: “I hope my esteemed colleague won’t continue to presume to judge other people from his presumed position of moral superiority,” says one—with flatly self-contradictory self-righteousness.

Oh, dear, dear, dear. To “speak the truth in love” continues to be the standard, and how often I fall short. Alas, I make it worse by falling short particularly on matters of genuine substance and sensitivity, when accuracy and charity are all the more important if one has any hope of being truly and fairly heard by others who might disagree.

So in this political season in both Canada and the United States, I shall try harder to speak only “a word in season” (Isaiah 50:4), one that, as the apostle says, “gives grace”–literally, gives a gift–to those that hear (Ephesians 4:29). And you, too?

0 Responses to “The Boomerangs of Sarcasm and Self-Righteousness”

  1. N Turner

    I was wrong in the tenor of several of my posts in the previous thread.

    Today, during my devotional time, the thought occured to me that I might be like the Sons of Thunder.

    It saddened me … but, constructively. I asked the Lord for His forgiveness and help, then e-mailed Professor Stackhouse privately.

    In my case, I believe I act that way — in part — because I enjoy debate (for good reasons, and some not-so-good reasons).

    I also am MUCH MORE prone to address others curtly on the internet because a) my nose is out of the reach of anyone’s fist, and b) I type slowly and stopping to think of a way to say things politely is, … well … not as much fun as rearing back and letting go with a zinger.

    But, it is wrong. And I am confessing and repenting about such behavior.

    To discontinue being a Son of Thunder, I will need — as RCochran says — God’s help.

  2. Alan

    A good reminder, John. I’ve been appalled at some of the commentary I’ve read around both the U.S. and Canadian elections. I think it’s particularly shameful when Christian commentators let loose.

    I understand full well the temptation, but I wonder sometimes if we know what kind of spirit we are of.

  3. Donna-Jean Brown

    This is your mother speaking. I know that playing nicely may not seem like as much fun as bashing each other over the head with your cars, but as you have seen, rough fighting always ends in tears.
    Your confessions and apologies are music to my ears, and, I think, to Mother God’s as well.
    With affection,

  4. N Turner

    Donna-Jean Brown, help me out.

    Where in scripture might I find the God of the Bible addressed as mother?

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