Topic Progress:

What it looks like | We all have them in our lives: folks who are pessimistic, sarcastic, cynical, mistrusting and who gossip. While these can be merely seen as negative traits or sin patterns, it can also be a way to express stress in a passive-aggressive manner referred to as being underhanded. It is highly damaging to relationships.

Because it would be unacceptable for pastors to express frustrations in some of these ways, underhandedness usually goes underground and is expressed only toward loved ones.

One form of underhandedness can involve an outward niceness while inwardly expending a significant amount of emotional energy depreciating the person on the receiving end. This incongruence can rob a person of spiritual vitality.

This form of underhandedness is inward and passive aggressive. In some cases, however, passive aggression finds outward expression through sarcasm, pessimism or gossip, which can be equally devastating.


Answer the questions below and share insights with your spouse or a trusted friend.

  • Are you guilty of being passive aggressive, dishing out underhanded remarks? Or do you stuff those feelings and deal with an internal struggle, thinking one thing but saying another?
  • What can you do to address this way of thinking or living so your underhandedness does not impact the condition of your soul?
  • What strategies have you found particularly helpful in helping address passive aggressiveness in others?

There is one more way that is often used to express stress.