Scarred by Sarcasm?

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My personality has always been peppered with wit and sarcasm.  I think it’s something in my genetic code.  Growing up it was normal within my family, and as a kid I can’t recall it ever becoming an issue with any of my friends.  Humor, wit, and sarcasm is definitely a coping strategy of mine.  It helps me navigate awkward situations or diffuse tension.  Nothing like a well timed punch line to change scowling faces into tear streamed laughter. It wouldn’t be a surprise that I would marry a man who embraced humor and sarcasm in the same way.

The first time I became cognizant of my words being harmful, was when my first was school aged.  My husband and I would joke and chide each other with sarcastic statements often.  If I wanted sushi, but my husband wanted to out to the same old burger place… I might comment:  My next husband will be an adventurous eater.   He might rebut with a jab of his won, such as:  Well my next wife will be a grillmaster and I can eat the best burgers at home.

Neither one of us were seriously considering the attributes of our future spouses.  It was just a thing we said, and we meant nothing by it.  Then one evening we were bickering over something, and I’m not sure which one of us ribbed first… but what matters is that our daughter heard us, and she was old enough at that point to know what divorce was.  The next day I over heard her confiding in a friend that her parents were fighting and might get a divorce.

I had always been taught as a child that words can hurt, hurt deeply.  I knew better than to be careless with my words, whether they were hurtfully on honest or intentionally hurtful.  However, growing up in a family that took sarcasm at the value of a grain of salt, I saw a difference between hurtful words and funny words.  What I didn’t take into consideration is that the rest of the world may not be able to see that distinction.  That includes my own children, who had been raised in a loving home and due to their age were not involved in the banter between my husband and myself.

My husband and I first had to clear things up with our daughter, reassuring her that we were just joking with each other.  We affirmed we were committed to each other in our marriage, but we also apologized for not being careful with our words to each other and in front of her.   After that, we made a commitment to her and each other… that type of humor and sarcasm wasn’t appropriate anymore.

While this was really obvious to us, in regards to our children, it was less obvious to us in regards to some of our friendships.  There were people we THOUGHT we could joke with in such a way, when in fact we couldn’t.   Being straight shooters, we could handle it when a person would say “that’s not really funny to me, knock it off”.  No problem.  The difficulty came in those who were unwilling to speak up, we were hurting them with our jokes and we didn’t even know it.  Ultimately this damaged friendships that we treasured.

It was confusing for us, because if someone would have just spoken up… we would have stopped.  At first it was easy to point the finger at others for not speaking up, when in reality we needed to realize that we were responsible for opening our mouths in the first place.  It was a hard lesson to swallow and came at great price.

Humor and even certain types of sarcasm have an appropriate place and time, but they are not tools to be unleashed without care and regard for others.  Our words can over power our character.  You can be a good person, a loving person, but your tongue can get away from you.

Proverbs 21:23 tells us to guard our mouth, to watch our words, and we will avoid trouble.

Psalm 141:3 is cry out to God to guard our mouths for us, to keep our lips shut.

Psalm 19:14 is our plea that the words of our mouths and meditations of soul be pleasing in God’s sight.

I can’t help but wonder, in every circumstance where humor or sarcasm slipped through my lips… were these words pleasing to God?

1 Thess 5:11 calls us as a body of believers to uplift one another, to encourage and build each other up.

Were my words uplifting?  Was I building up my brothers in and sisters in Christ?  Or, was I unkind and careless with my words? 

Sometimes humor and sarcasm are meant only as a joke, but when it is a joke at another person’s expense… it’s not honoring God, it’s not respecting the friendship, and it’s really not funny.  Other times, humor or sarcasm can reveal what we would never boldly say to another person.  We slip it out there with an addendum of “just kidding”, as if that makes it better. That too, is not honor God, respecting the friendship, nor is it funny.

I would encourage those who use sarcasm to be aware of the scarring effects it can have on those around us, who may never speak that truth to us.    I would also encourage those who find themselves the target of sarcasm from family or friends to be willing to speak up for themselves.  Words can hurt, words will divide…. words can also heal.

Lord, forgive me for the occasions where I have been careless with my words.  Speak to the hearts of those I may have hurt, that they know my apologies were sincere, and they can mend any broken veins that has left in their heart.   Help me to guard my mouth, so that what flows from it are words that are uplifting, encouraging, and empowering.    In Jesus name, Amen.

 

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#Write31Days – Post 15 – Memorizing the Scriptures

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My small group for this fall is all about Bible Literacy, we are half way through our book.  I think we all have grasped the importance of not just reading the Bible, but studying it.  We are learning study tools so that we can read with purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer.  We have grasped that reading a piece of scripture just once isn’t sufficient, and reading it in context is responsible.

At the beginning of the small group sessions, I asked all of the women to write down WHY they were interested in learning how to study the Bible.  An older woman in the group shared that she was looking for a better way to retain what she was reading.  Age and illness have taken a toll.  Years of Bible Studies, personal reading, etc… and she just couldn’t hold onto to the information.  She was hoping that learning new study skills would help her retain the scriptures she loved.

Confession Time:

I think most of us struggle with memorizing scripture. 

It takes time, effort, and practice.  Most of us find that our time is pretty divided between work, family, volunteering, etc.  We have also lost the need for scripture memorization, particularly in the United States.  In my own home I have access to NINE translations of the Bible in PRINT.  If you include the access I have through the internet, I literally have access to every translation written to date.  It costs me nothing.

Historically, people would memorize scripture because they were relaying the scriptures from memory… there were not written Bibles.  Later, as the scriptures were recorded on scrolls, the scrolls would be passed around from city to city.  It was quite possible that no single city would have the complete collection of the scriptures all at one time.  In other countries, having a printed copy of the scriptures might get you executed.  For these people memorization is their only option.

However, for you and I… it’s a quick click of some keys, or a short walk to our bookshelf.

We don’t NEED to memorize it, because we have instantaneous access to it… any time we want.

For my friend who is aging, this is a relief.

Yet, for those of us who want to memorize scripture (in part, or in whole) it is a daunting task.   Here are a few tips for helping you memorize scripture.

  • Select scriptures that are meaningful to you, at least to start with.  They may be encouraging scriptures that get you through rough times.  Or, pieces of beautiful poetry that remind you of the glory of God.  They may be promises or scriptures of wisdom.  Having a connection to the scripture will give you the motivation needed to memorize.
  • Write out the scripture several times by hand, for some learning styles this is an active way to cement the scriptures to memory.  For others they may need to repeat the scripture out loud, many times like a drill, in order to recall it from memory.  Or, come up with a mnemonic device to assist with memory recall…. such as hand gestures, putting it to a tune or rhythm.
  • Write the scripture down on a card, and display it in an area you frequent often.    Such places may be your bathroom mirror, on your front door, the dashboard of your car, or in your planner.   Keep it there until you have memorized the scripture, then replace with a new one.
  • Try memorizing the scripture from a translation that is easier to recall.  A King James version can be difficult with the old english phrasing.  The NIV or ESV may be a lot easier because the language is more familiar.

Also make sure that you review scriptures you have already memorized often, to ensure you retained it accurately.  Otherwise you may find yourself leaving out words of blending scriptures together that are unrelated.

#Write31Days – Post 8 – Unacknowledged Hurt

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Have you ever had someone hurt your feelings, and no matter how you try to address it with the person… they just won’t own it.    They may try to blame you for the issue, or even shift blame by giving you the “if you didn’t ___, then I wouldn’t have ___” excuse.  You may have even apologized for the things you did in the situation that were wrong, and yet the other person is incapable of even acknowledging their part in the problem.

Unacknowledged hurt, hurts.  It really does.  And, I have found, the longer that it goes unacknowledged the more it hurts.   Whether you have been quietly waiting for the apology or out right demanded one is totally moot, because you are not going to get one either way.  Some people are totally incapable of admitting to their wrongdoing.

In my opinion, it boils down to one of three options:

1. Victim Mentalityvictimmentality

The victim won’t admit to being wrong, because they are incapable of doing so.   They have a skewed perception of reality, and will even project guilt onto you that is actually rooted in someone who previously abused, mistreated, or took advantage of them.  You end up paying the price because of harm that someone else had done long before this situation.  The more people who mistreated them, the more victimized they become.  The more victimized they become, the more they will see everyone out in the world is out to get them.  They are unable to see anyone through an objective lens, unwilling to give the benefit of the doubt  or accept that they may have hurt you. 

2.  Martyr Complexmartyrcomplex

Martyr’s are a bit different than victims because they WANT to be a victim, or at least appear like one.  It’s not that they are incapable of knowing that they hurt you, they just don’t want to bear the responsibility of owning it.  So, they PLAY the victim in order to garner sympathy from others outside of the situation.  They also want you to feel bad, like it is your fault, and bear not only the brunt of the blame … but to do all the work to repair things with them.  Which usually means that you will go above and beyond to try and make things right.  The martyr knows that they were wrong, in whole or part, but you will never hear an admission or acknowledgment from them.

3.  Haughty or Prideful Heart haughtyhaughty

The prideful person actually believes that they are totally innocent of any wrong doing, but not like a victim.  On the contrary, the prideful person is always right and everyone else is always wrong.  This has nothing to do with past experiences or victimization, but instead is a heart issue.  If you are hurt, that is YOUR issue… they did nothing wrong.  You are either too sensitive, have no right to be hurt, were the one who was wrong, etc.  And, the thing is, they totally believe this.  It’s different than the person who knows they are at fault (or at least partially at fault) and tries to pass the blame.  The prideful person truly believes they are totally innocent of any wrong doing what so ever.

The victim will usually make you feel horrible for hurting their feelings, so that you will bend more toward their sensitivities.  The martyr wants everyone else to see how they suffered and how terrible you treated them.  The haughty person would rather walk way from you in their “rightness” than admit to being wrong and try to do the right thing.  But, what is really interesting to me is that there are some people who are mixture of all three.  I didn’t realize it until I wrote this piece, so I suppose there is a fourth category.

There are those who are so certain they are right, that they will put all the blame on you. (Pride)

They will also make sure you feel absolutely terrible about hurting them, even if you are the one who was hurt.  (Victim)

And, they will make sure the whole world knows what you did to them and how you treated them so poorly.  (Martyr)

So what do you do, when you have been hurt…

… and the other person in never going to acknowledge that hurt?

  1.  Pray for clarity over the situation.  Is this a relationship that is otherwise healthy and this is just a particular situation, or is this a toxic relationship and this behavior is repetitive?  Is it time to let this relationship go, or is there restoration possible now or in the future?
  2.  Pray for forgiveness.  Pray for God to forgive you in the areas you failed in the relationship, and then ask God to help you forgive the other person.  Forgiving the other person will be freeing for you, as you will no longer be captive to their dysfunction or the situation any longer.
  3. Pray for discernment.  We usually can not just entirely remove a person from our life.   It may be a family member, a coworker, someone we attend church with, or part of a circle of friends.  Pray that God will help you determine what kind of boundaries you can put in place to protect yourself.  This may mean removing yourself from that person entirely, but it may be a few key decisions that help keep the person at a safe distance.
  4. Pray for healing.  You can cry out to God about your hurt and pain, and ask for Him to heal you.  His healing is not dependent on their acknowledgement of wrong.  His healing can help you move on, more forward, despite their inability to be accountable and reconcile the relationship.

Regardless of their ability to acknowledge the hurt they caused has no bearing on your right to call it what it is.  You can be frank with them, making sure they understand in no uncertain terms that they have hurt you (and perhaps even identifying the level of hurt).  You can choose to draw a line in the sand that can not be crossed until they are willing to acknowledge the hurt they caused.  It’s totally appropriate to do so in a manner that is straightforward without being catty, disrespectful, or mean. 

You can acknowledge the hurt.

God will acknowledge your hurt.

Together, God will help you move beyond it to greater things.

Stop thinking and caring so much about a person, who was able to not only hurt you so deeply… but who didn’t care enough to try and make it right.

 

 

 

Side Tracked ….. by Books!

I’m not going to lie to anyone any more.  I am a book addict.  I love books.  Like real books, no kindle for me.   I love the feel and smell of paper, the gratification of getting caught up emotionally in the story line and whipping through the pages.  There is gratification in the sound.  I like being able to slam the book down when I can’t believe what just happened, or when a concept hits my like a ton of bricks.

I’m not a book snob, stuck in anyone particular genre.  I love fiction and fantasty… just as much as I love history and biographies.  I love textbooks and cookbooks…. just as much as I love a how to guide or humorous fluff.

summerreading

summerreading2    summerreading3

There are actually about four distinct piles of books in my house for my “summer reading”.

I accept I have a problem, and I’m not trying to change it.  But I do have a confession to make……

Having a book addiction can get really pricey, especially when you don’t want kindle or nook versions that go on sale sometimes for $1….

…. and so, I joined up with a few places where I could pick books and get them for free… I just had to write a review of it on my website.

I sold out my blog for book reviews.

Forgive me.

I had planned for this blog to be a lot more than just reviews on books I like and didn’t like.  But I got carried away by it, the appeal of books was more than this girl could handle.

Forgive me, even more.

And while I know that book people draw in other book people, and you maybe didn’t care about it… because I was recommending books to feed your habit too….  I lost vision and focus of what I really wanted to accomplish here.

Forgive me, oh… please forgive me.

So, I made a decision today…. and that is to get back on track with my real purposes for this blog.  It headed in a direction I didn’t intend.  I was looking at my content list, and I was shocked by how derailed I allowed myself to get.

We will usher in a time where there is more content and less reviews.   I’m not giving up entirely on sharing reviews, but I am going to me much more selective.

Instead, between my focused content posts… you’ll find me, huddled in the corner of my couch… sniffing the smell of new books by myself.  Don’t judge me.