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Tag Archives: sarcasm

Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt

A friend who is a local pastor in Newark has a mantra that he repeats once a month, “hurt people hurt other people.”  Those who receive verbal attacks in the form of negative comments, put downs and sarcasm tend to build up resentment in their hearts.  At some point this frustration will boil over resulting in an emotional explosion.  This climate stunts one’s ability to love others on a constant basis.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, Isaiah 61:1.

Hurt people often wear emotions on their sleeves, sending out negative electricity when rubbed the wrong way.  Sadly, there are demented individuals who get their kicks by picking on someone until they explode.  This trend is made worse by social media sites which allow violent videos that gain attention or go viral.  In my mind, there isn’t anything funny about hurt people hurting others.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid, John 14:27.

Jesus has provided a solution to hurt people in the passage above.  To overcome hate, Jesus extended peace to first century citizens.  Since talk is cheap, Jesus lived out love, reaching out to children, the helpless, poor and sick.  Even when the disciples wanted to call it a day or night, Jesus offered his time to strangers every day.  Despite being falsely accused, sentenced to death and dying on a cross, Jesus loved like He was never hurt.  In view of this, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with strength so that love will not die.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Why Do You Call Me Good?

Affirmations, compliments and encouragement used to be a common presence in daily conversations.  This positive vibe appears to be vanishing, replaced by sarcasm, witty comments and venting frustrations.  In some spheres of life, the word good is chosen as a means to gain favor.  A student seeking acceptance from a teacher will approach this special individual with kind speech to initiate a discussion.  In the passage below, this is exactly what occurs.

As He was leaving on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially good and morally perfect], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” – Mark 10:17

Perhaps Jesus perceived the motives of this rich young ruler changing the discourse by replying, “why do you call me good?”  While I don’t know how the rich acted in the first century, today wealthy people tend to get what they want.  Whether this means buying it, bribing or convincing others this decision will result in a financial gain in the future, money can be persuasive.  Whatever the reason, Jesus makes the point that being good won’t gain you access to heaven.

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially] good [by nature] except God alone, Mark 10:18.

Jesus cautions this young man that human nature defaults to self.  The apostle Paul writes about this internal struggle in Galatians 5:16-18.  During a letter to the church of Rome, Paul shares about his own personal battle, Romans 7:13-15.  Despite Paul’s attempt to be good, he failed miserably, unable to control his sinful nature.  This experience likely inspired Paul to once confess, “I am the greatest sinner of all,” 1 Timothy 1:15.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love (high regard, compassion) for him, and He said to him, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your property and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 22 But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God], Mark 10:21-22.

After a brief comment about the last 6 commandments, Jesus addresses the main question of this rich young ruler, how do you inherit eternal life?  Jesus gives a three step action plan.  First, go sell your land and property.  Second, give the proceeds to the poor.  After this is complete, follow me by walking the same path as a servant.  While this reality can be distressing for any rich person, verse 22 provides the key to eternal life.  You must treasure your relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10, more than anything on earth.  Or as Matthew 6:33-34 once wrote, “seek first God and his righteousness.”  This is what makes someone good, but since no one is perfect God offers grace through faith in Christ as only way to heaven.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Trying to Heal a Defiled Heart

If you maintain a burdensome schedule each week, finding time to take an honest assessment of your life isn’t easy to do.  Most busy people press on. ignoring any signs, symptoms or traces of trouble.  When a state of emergency was issued for Delaware during the fourth snow storm in March, I was forced to slow down, unable to go to work.  After reading the passage below, an overwhelming sense of guilt struck my soul, exposing a defiled heart.

After He called the people to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen [carefully] to Me, all of you, [hear] and understand [what I am saying]: there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart of] a man are what defile and dishonor him. 16 [If anyone has ears to hear, let him he}” Mark 7:15-16.

As a former high school teacher, I gave my students some sort of assessment every 3 weeks.  Homework, papers, quizzes and exams were given during each unit to reveal the degree of comprehension.  Unfortunately, after graduating from high school or college, adults rarely think about assessing their faith like educators.  This lack of reflection often hides glaring issues.  As for me, a lack of candor has brought to light a defiled heart.

For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit. For figs are not picked from thorn bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a briar bush. 45 The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart, Luke 6:43-45.

According to Jesus, your choice of language provides immediate feedback to what’s in your heart.  If you find yourself using coarse joking, put downs or sarcasm, this serves as a warning of a heart in grave condition.  In order to take a positive step forward, confession is the best place to start, James 5:16.  If your language does not improve, finding an accountability partner can help turn your life around.  While transformation takes time, meditating on Bible verses, prayer and fasting are all honorable steps toward healing a defiled heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

Walking a Fine Line

There is a growing tension that exists between men and women.  As sexual harassment accusations continue to come forward daily from previous encounters, common interactions that were once considered the norm must be re-evaluated.  The days of coarse joking, innuendos and sarcasm may be over as someone from the opposite sex could be offended by what you thought was funny.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

The Bible provides instructions for those sensing that a change needs to be made.  In a letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul urges individuals to focus on the positive.  Despite how difficult it may be to alter your vocabulary, the advice encouraged above isn’t complex.  If you want to walk the fine line, focus on only those things that build others up.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving, Ephesians 5:4.

When I was in college back in the early 1990’s, a series of rapes had taken place on campus.  The university did a study to pin point some of the reasons to explain why this was happening.  One report blamed this on poor lighting throughout campus.  Female students were so afraid walking alone at night that if you were a guy and said hello or smiled, girls thought you might be a rapist.  This atmosphere caused most male students to keep their head downs, avoiding any type of eye contact.  It’s sad to see interactions come to this point, but keeping a low profile is another way to walk a fine line.

by Jay Mankus

 

What You Say Isn’t Always What God Wants Others to Hear

As someone who works at Amazon, I come across thousands of products weekly.  Some of these units I have to examine, investigate or test.  Due to the bizarre nature of some or unusual name of others, I am tempted by sarcasm.  Without any type of a filter, I may blurt out something comical, funny or witty.  Despite how humorous my comments may be from time to time, what I say isn’t always what God wants others to hear.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

I can’t speak for other people, but I tend to go through various stages of conviction.  When I am in tune with God, my spiritual antennas are heightened.  This usually results in obeying God.  The rest of the year I experience weeks when I am numb, aimlessly wondering through life like Israel in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.  This stage produces periods of coarse joking and sarcasm, as I lose my direction and vision for life.  If I allow apathy to reign, this is where I lose control of my vocabulary, letting loose words slip.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

As I have fallen into bad habits, the Lord reminded me of this verse above.  Frustrated by my current state, I tried to apply taking my thoughts captive.  What I learned is that what was funny to me last week, isn’t funny to God.  Thus, as I performed my daily responsibilities, keeping my mouth shut was tough, much harder than I thought.  Although I blurted out a few sarcastic responses, taking every thought captive requires extreme discipline.  While I don’t have the ability to be perfect, in my own weakness to do and say the right thing, Jesus can be strong.  Therefore, I press on forgetting my past to focus on the future so that God’s sanctifying grace will make me whole.  In the meantime, make sure the words you utter reflect the compassion, grace and love of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

The Fatherless

You can find out a lot about someone based upon their action, behavior and content of spoken/written words.  While James is often considered the earthly brother of Jesus, few people realize he spent many years without a father.  Beginning in the second chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus’ father Joseph is not mentioned.  While there are many theories to explain Joseph’s absence, most scholars believe Joseph died several years before Jesus began his earthly ministry.  Thus, its assumed by the author John, Joseph is dead leaving James fatherless.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless, James 1:26.

Anyone who is blessed with having godly influences along the way in life tends to possess key insight.  Like the brothers of Joseph in the Old Testament who thought he was crazy, James had similar thoughts about Jesus.  Based upon the words chosen above, James doubted his brother prior to his resurrection.  Although he doesn’t specify, James likely joked about, made fun of or used sarcasm upon hearing Jesus’ boisterous claims.  Conviction inspired James to state religion is worthless without keeping a tight reign on your tongue.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world, James 1:27.

Beside helping the poor, James gives believers 2 areas where people should express their faith.  Likely thinking about his mother Mary, supporting widows is a worthy cause.  Meanwhile, orphans abandoned by their families or left homeless due to tragedy is just as needy.  Perhaps, James experienced times in life when he needed a father, but Joseph was long gone.  Though you may not know an orphan, that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone younger to mentor.  Desperate souls are longing for a friend to guide them through life.  Yet, without the helping hands of Christ’s servants in action, the lonely will remain feeling fatherless.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Sign of Wisdom

When I become frustrated, sarcasm is the first thing to come out of my mouth.  If I’m not careful, these words can become foreplay before I erupt with anger.  The biblical definition of temperance refers to going as far as permissible and no further.  Perhaps, this might explain why the apostle Paul suggests “in your anger, do not sin.”

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues, Proverbs 17:28.

Meanwhile, Solomon addresses a similar issue with the Israelites.  There are several moments in life when its better to kept silent, refraining from saying something that you might regret.  Maybe this is where parents get their expression, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”  Either way, this advice provides a sign of wisdom.

So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs, 2 Corinthians 2:11.

One of my college professors use to remind our class, if you don’t learn from history you will simply repeat the mistakes of the past.  The passage above serves as a warning that Satan is on the prowl, looking to pounce on a weak soul.  Thus, you should not be ignorant of his schemes, Ephesians 6:10-12.  In view of this knowledge, put on the shield of faith.  Those who wear the armor of God daily will serve as a sign of wisdom to those living in darkness.

by Jay Mankus

 

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