But there are times when one needs to cut the wick low, when the shock bomb needs to go off just so that the listeners can be broken free from the sadistic chains of manipulation. It is only then that they are able to see the bigger picture and envision a brighter hope. Sarcasm is a weapon, and there are times when it is the most appropriate one to use. It's the hammer that hits heavy, the hand grenade lofted into the enemy's space, the incisive knife of the surgeon. It works in a way where kind words or actions do not.
And, importantly for Christians like myself, it's deeply biblical.
The lone Hebrew prophet Elijah taunting his multitudinous contemporaries, wondering aloud if their gods were taking a tinkle. The otherwise unknown prophet Nathan flipping the story of the thieving, murderous landowner on King David. Jesus illustrating the corruption of the debtor system with his rude imagining of a stark naked quasi-slave.
Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It's on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse. (The Message)
Listen to this, you cows of Bashan
grazing on the slopes of Samaria.
You women! Mean to the poor,
cruel to the down-and-out!
Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands,
'Bring us a tall, cool drink!'
This is serious—I, God, have sworn by my holiness!
Be well warned: Judgment Day is coming!
They're going to rope you up and haul you off,
keep the stragglers in line with cattle prods.
They'll drag you through the ruined city walls,
forcing you out single file,
And kick you to kingdom come.
- God's Decree.
Come along to Bethel and sin!
And then to Gilgal and sin some more!
Bring your sacrifices for morning worship.
Every third day bring your tithe.
Burn pure sacrifices—thank offerings.
Speak up—announce freewill offerings!
That's the sort of religious show you Israelites just love. (The Message)
Of course, the majority of times that isn't a proper way of treating even an enemy. Leaving someone traipsing in the dark after punching them in the guts is not a way to have a non-sadist return.