We Wish You a Merry Christmas … Tree

DSCN8410Each of the last several years we’ve had the joy of heading to The Christmas Tree Farm in Central, SC to get our tree. This year our local Parenting magazine interviewed us about our family tradition, which was nice.

Typically the first Saturday after Thanksgiving we’ll head out to the farm, where there are acres and acres of perfectly sculpted Christmas trees. The kind folks at The Christmas Tree Farm provided us with hot chocolate or apple cider, a very sharp hand saw, and general directions on the various kinds of trees they offer. They come in any height from Charlie Brown to over 10 feet tall. They have cypresses, white pines, sapphires, green pines and more.

A key when picking out a tree is to pick one close to your vehicle. One year I forgot this simple key and ended up dragging a tree for half a mile. This was the same year I thought bigger was better: we had a 10 foot tree. I thought I was going to die, only to find out later that they would have hauled it up to the shop if I had just asked. Lesson learned. This was another instance when I should have listened to my wife.

When my kids were younger, they enjoyed straddling me like a horse as I was lying on the ground trying to saw the tree down. I’m glad they are older now. They also enjoy the shaking and netting machines. My engineering son likes these the best.

DSCN8429I hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving and  Christmas season as you enjoy your friends and family, as well as the point of it all: Christ came to die for our sins!!

And for those of you who are camping out next Thursday for Black Friday, be sure to read my story to gain some practical tips on how to pull this off and live to tell about it.

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Mocking & Sarcasm

A Real Case Study

Read Part Two of this post HERE

William came to me with a question about sarcasm. He has a friend who regularly mocks or puts him down when they are together. Unfortunately, William does not have a real relationship with his friend because his friend is not transparent.

William assumes the mocking and sarcasm is a way to keep distance. His friend does struggle with the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25), so he uses the “put down” as a way to hide from having genuine relationships. William did ask his friend about this and he said making fun of people was his way of “showing affection.”

Unfortunately, the lack of discernment and care regarding William is having an adverse effect on William. Because William is struggling with his own relationship with God, he is trying to reach out to be cared for. However, in most cases his reaching out is reciprocated by some form of a put down in a public context.

The following are some thoughts I gave William, along with the obvious, which is to have a chat with his friend, guard his own heart and carefully address the log in his eye.

What It Means

Sarcasm literally means to “cut the flesh.” Therefore, a person who uses sarcasm or its twin, mocking, is a flesh cutter. No matter how you slice it, generally speaking and in the context of what the word means, you only cut that which you devalue. If you value it, you do not cut it. Therefore, sarcasm or mocking, are ways to devalue someone or something. And this is what William feels from his friend.

I Thought It Was a Gift

As a kid with four brothers, I thought mocking and sarcasm were an art form to be honed. The quicker and sharper the tongue the more adept you were at fending off the enemy. I think where I messed up is that when I became a Christian, I didn’t change my methodology as it pertained to others. I brought some things under the Lordship of my Savior, but not all things, like the tongue. What was a bad habit for the old man can hardly be exported to the new man lifestyle,repackaged and made right. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The Biblical Category

Since sarcasm is not a biblical category, it might be helpful to bring it within a biblical framework in order to think about it more clearly. Sometimes some things lose their force when we rate or categorize them according to cultural standards. I have found it a good practice over the years to place the words and deeds I do into biblical categories in order to understand them better for the glory of God.

In the case of sarcasm, the biblical category would be unkindness. Though others may find another biblical category to fit better, I hardly think any reasonable Christian would call it “affection” or anything that connotes it as being a good thing.

In the case of mocking, we do see that in Scripture. And I’m not aware of it ever being a good thing or being in a good context whenever it is used in Scripture. Elijah is most certainly mocking the prophets of Baal, but that is an adversarial relationship, not two Christian brothers communicating with one another.

Application Questions

  1. Are you aware of how your words affect others?
  2. What have you done to find out how your words affect others?
  3. If your words are negatively affecting others, what are you doing about it?
  4. Would you talk to three of your friends today about this post and ask them how it applies to you?

Articles in this series

  1. Sarcasm, Mocking & Other Dangerous Sins – 1.0
  2. Sins of the Tongue – 2.0 (tomorrow’s post)
Checkout some of our training videos on our YouTube Channel
Free Counseling Advice via Twitter
Free Counseling Advice via Weekly eBlast
Checkout The Christian Counselor Resource Center