This was from an email-based discussion group I participated in for a short while. I think it was my first web-based discussion group. Comments had been made describing some of Jesus' statements as being sarcastic, and I think I may have agreed with the basic idea that was conveyed. It caused quite a stir when the head honcho made a stink about it.
Here's my "two-cents worth"! :)
SARCASM: Witty language used to convey insults or scorn
Doesn't the question about sarcasm and truth really ask, Can good come out of evil? For what believer in his/her right mind agrees that it's okay to INSULT or SCORN? We have to create loopholes just to allow ourselves to do so. I wonder if we are asking the right question?
In view of the fact that much has been said and written about how Jesus and Paul said MANY things in a manner that has been described as sarcastic, confrontational, in your face, or harsh, it can't be ignored. The fact is that if they weren't being sarcastic, they were being something that we have a hard time describing.
Righteous indignation just doesn't do it simply because it's become a compartment for us to explain what we aren't sure of. Yeah, I've used it enough to dislike the self-righteous sound when I've justified my own or heard others justifying themselves. The main problem with that designation is that it has put this God-thing too far above us and reinforces the illusion that, in reality, we are not partakers of His nature.
What if you and I have allowed the world's logic to dictate reality to us in every way imaginable? What if we are struggling to be nice and Politically Correct because it is the only option afforded us from the world's point of view? What if we jump into sarcasm because, once again, from the world's logic, there seems to be no other way to understand those questionable communications seen in the Bible?
The intent of both Jesus and Paul was not to put down or insult, but to build up and encourage. They spoke in ways that caused the hearers to hear the truth by seeing the absurdity of the wisdom they grew up with. There are many instances of a subtle or witty use of reasoning in the language of Paul that might be described as tongue-in-cheek. An ingrained concept is not shaken loose by simply learning the proper Bible doctrine. Instead, the Bible doctrine gets neatly tucked away in a safe compartment so that it doesn't disturb the faulty concept.
What if we were to learn to speak to one another and to listen to one another without conforming to the world's patterns and reactions? What if you and I discovered that we really do have the mind of Christ and the ears of the Spirit, so that hearing was not a matter of my comprehension level, but found in the realm of the miraculous? As much as I have fought the reality that I CANNOT infuse the understanding of Christ into those who I speak to, I keep having to come back to the truth that the natural mind does not understand the Spirit of God. It is a MIRACULOUS thing that occurs EACH TIME the ears are opened!!
For we are the fragrance of Christ to God among those being saved, and among those perishing. To some we are the fragrance of death leading to death, but to others the fragrance of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Ignore the distinction and you'll only come up with an opinion that comes from your attempt to blend two conflicting realities ... I know, I keep doing it over and over again. It is the world's mindset that teaches us that INSULTING believers is legitimate. It is also the world's mindset that teaches us to discard the confrontation of the Spirit of God when it digs down into our strongholds. Why am I so often surprised by the deceptive nature of the world's wisdom?
Sometimes for lack of a better word, I have referred to this as sarcasm. Maybe sarcasm isn't the word that really describes the communication I refer to, for its purpose is to strengthen and build up the saints (that's YOU, the believers, by the way) and I will make a note of that.