Wasteland Kings

In the profound words of the artist Propaganda, “sarcasm is really the only time people tell the truth.”

I found these words incredibly convicting when I first heard them. I use sarcasm often and I use it the most on the people closest to me. I don’t normally intend to use sarcasm for malicious purposes, but I’ve found recently that it can easily have that effect even without that intention.

While I tell myself that I use sarcasm because it’s funny, that ignores the real reason I rely on it so often to communicate to other people. The truth is that I struggle mightily with insecurity and it’s much safer to express myself behind the veil of sarcasm. When I genuinely express my thoughts and feelings, especially about those close to me, it risks rejection and that really scares me.

Love and Fear Don’t Mix Well

In this digital age of constantly expressing ourselves to the faceless internet, our fear of being rejected or ignored has become a dread that haunts all of us. This leads many people to lead lives that are more and more isolated. We may express ourselves quite a bit on Instagram, Twitter, or blogs but we don’t genuinely express ourselves to other people and see their acceptance of us in person.

Even being corrected can bring the acceptance that we need because it shows us that we’re loved unconditionally and not because we have good ideas or make good jokes. Many of us fall into the terrible assumption that our friends and family keep us around because we have something to offer and that they might reject us otherwise. This doubt has plagued me for most of my life.

While I may seem like a confident and expressive person in my blogs, I don’t always feel that way around those closest to me.

I grew up overweight and I was never very social. I had friends, but I always struggled with feeling like an outsider and I constantly worried that saying or doing the wrong thing would make me more of an outsider. This led me to saying things sarcastically because it allowed me to express myself in a very guarded manner.

A Vicious Cycle

While many times I assume sarcasm is my saving grace because it allows me to safely express myself, it actually drains all of my confidence and courage. I rarely open up and share my full opinion unless I feel really secure in that opinion. This approach makes me sound ridiculous and arrogant most of the time.

That said, my editor is probably going to point out to me that in reality I am ridiculous and arrogant. Christian community is truly priceless because I don’t know where else to get anything like it and I have no clue what I’d do without it. Having someone point out one of your mistakes or hold you accountable AND continue loving you is one of the craziest experiences I’ve had in my life.

Back to my point, my reliance on sarcasm keeps me from experiencing the genuine acceptance of my friends and family. Basically, I don’t feel secure in my relationships and that causes me to hide sarcasm. While that offers some safety from rejection, it also holds me back from the acceptance that my friends and family want to express to me.

The Other Victim

I am the greatest victim of sarcasm because it robs me of the genuine and unconditional acceptance that I need. Unfortunately, I am not the only victim of sarcasm when I say something that I don’t really mean. The recipient of my sarcastic comment gets a doubt filled puzzle instead of my genuine thoughts or feelings.

When I say something sarcastic to them, they have to pick apart the statement in their heads and decide for themselves what I meant and how strongly I feel about that statement. Hearing enough sarcasm from someone will inevitably make you wonder what that person thinks of you because they’re constantly hiding their true feelings behind the veil of sarcasm. This means I deprive my friends and family from the same acceptance and love that I lack.

This problem starts whenever I make the recipient of my comment responsible for discerning how I really feel and not taking any of the responsibility myself. When I express myself to someone, I need to take responsibility for how I express it and do my best to make sure my expression lands in the right part of their heart.

Open Love

Propaganda is right when he says that sarcasm is the only time we really tell the truth. He’s right because most of the time we only feel comfortable being genuine when we put a defensive layer of sarcasm on our words. In order to break this trend we must take heart and be courageous.

Being genuine and open at the same time is one of the scariest things possible in a world where people seem to enjoy criticism and cynicism much more than personal affirmation. Even if this world sinks even deeper into that trend, it’s up to us to be a light in this dark world. We must break the mold and take the risk of speaking our hearts openly in a clear way to the people we care about.

It’s our job to look different from the fallen world around us and one of the best ways to do that is to openly show each other genuine love and kindness.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35


Image Copyright: Melissa Weise https://www.flickr.com/photos/42dreams/1458972393/

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