I once had an acquaintance state an observation they’d made about me that seemed out of the ordinary (they could take their pick, I suppose – “ordinary” is NOT something I’m often called). They said, “You are almost completely without sarcasm, and that’s refreshing.”
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
I wonder if they were speaking of the same person. These days, my wife probably gets the brunt of it – the regular cracks & cut-ups – poor attempts at being witty – all for the hope of getting a chuckle. How cheap.
Think about what you like most about people – think of those you could spend almost all of your time with: what sets them apart?
Yeah – a sense of humor can push someone to the top of the “fun list”, for a time, but constant kidding grows old fast, and a good laugh only goes so far towards deepening intimacy. In fact, I often feel more guarded around those who are ‘the life of the party’, because someone will be the ‘butt’ of their next joke, and it may very well be me. Some 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).
Especially as pastors/leaders – people who are “on stage”, & in the public eye, representing the Lord, & leading people to better see Him – humorous careless words can do far more damage than we think. For some, given our position of authority, how we speak reflects almost directly upon who God is. Though Jesus wasn’t without a sense of humor, consider your “fun” – could you hear those words rolling off Jesus’ tongue? Since Jesus says my “no” should mean “no”, & my “yes”, “yes”, then I think I’d rather be “safe” than “funny” any day, especially if my being funny is at the expense of someone else’s honor.
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 regularly pray that – as a leader – I will continue to strive towards ‘innocence’ in how and what I speak, and I will pray the same for you.
So, that was my on-going confessional. Be honest; where could you grow as a leader?