Proverbs 12:8 (NLT)
8 A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised.
The best reputation is that which attends virtue and serious piety, and the prudent conduct of life: A man shall be commended by all that are wise and good, in conformity to the judgment of God himself, which we are sure is according to truth, not according to his riches or preferments, his craft and subtlety, but according to his wisdom, the honesty of his designs and the prudent choice of means to compass them. [Matthew Henry]
We've all heard the old adage, "If you can't find anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all." In a recent article for Salon.com, Lauren Frey Daisley tried to follow that advice for one month. She titled the article "My month of no snark." ("Snark" is a slang word that combines "snide" and "remark" and refers to sarcastic comments.) Daisley writes:
It started when my husband, baby and I drove away from a visit with my aunt, who has Stage 4 breast cancer. I thought back on the 30-some years I've known her. I have never once in all that time heard her say anything unkind. Not even in the subtext of her words. That's one [heck]�or, in this case, heaven�of a legacy�. I began to wonder, how would holding my tongue�or at least changing what came off it�alter my relationships?
That's when she began her "month-long campaign" to practice kindness in her speech. Daisley discovered that it's not easy to live without snark. Instead, she wrote, "It's so much cooler to be more sarcastic �. It says, I am so above this scene�above other people, even."
After her month-long experiment she concluded, "Kindness [of speech] doesn't have to imply repression. It doesn't rein in humor or impede the fight for justice. But it does require discipline and substantive engagement with others." [Lauren Frey Daisley, "My month of no snark," Salon.com (3-28-11)]
From an origin in Greek the word sarcasm means to tear flesh or to bite at with the teeth. When a person is being sarcastic to another they are tearing away from them the good things in life. The intent is to hurt in order to make oneself better than another.