The opportunity for good or evil has always been with us and certainly finds fertile ground in the social media of our day. Whether one is right or left, for or against a cause, the manner in which we express our point of view has pretty much taken a tailspin. While claiming to stand for love and tolerance, the most vile and insulting words are used to punctuate feelings. The problem is no one walks away from that approach having contributed to a dialogue worth consideration.
Nobody wants to be offended, yet plenty of people are willing to be offensive, justifying the words they choose as their right of expression. Thankfully, in America free speech is a right. But speech without civility is little more than a gang fight. There are no winners. Crass and vulgar language doesn’t promote reasonable thought and mockery doesn’t persuade someone to consider a differing point of view. Though we all have a perspective, the way we engage matters.
Some time back a friend forwarded a piece of social media that was a deeply offensive, contemptuous attack on Christianity. It was probably one of the worst I had ever read. A supposed enlightened thinker, who would have been the first to carry the banner of “tolerance” typed sentences filled with expletives as far away from tolerance as one could get. In fact, it was hateful to its core, using demeaning portrayals of Christians as unreasoning fools, who embrace the myth of original sin and follow a fabricated Jesus. That’s the cleaned-up version.
In an obvious attempt to shame believers and erase history, the writer unintentionally revealed something about himself ~ his desperate need to dismiss any possibility of God, let alone the need of a Savior. An obvious question arose. Why bother to challenge something he doesn’t believe exists? His rage hinted at a fragile emotion. If Christianity is true, mankind is accountable and the writer wanted none of that. His desire was to live life on his own terms; with self the only authority. What he failed to recognize is that he was already doing just that. No one was stopping him. Yet for some reason, that wasn’t enough to satisfy him. Something deep inside seethed and so he gathered vile words to mock those who trusted the One he denied.
There’s a strange element to mockery. Whenever it climbs up on its self-proclaimed throne, it only furthers the truth of Scripture. 1 Peter 4:14-17 speaks to this. “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this manner. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
The Bible never compromises truth for convenience. The whole nature of man is revealed ~ the good, the bad and the ugly, which is why boundaries are clearly given for our benefit. And still God does not force us to embrace His Word and offer of salvation. He gives us complete freedom to accept or deny Him.
Perhaps that is the reason Christianity’s response to ridicule and persecution has been, for the most part, one of quiet perseverance. Believers don’t have to retaliate in kind. We simply press on. We speak the truth and expect the insults, not because we’re strong, but because God forewarned us. He doesn’t ask us to defend Him, He asks us to profess Him; to carry the Good News of the love of Jesus to all people, in all places, at all times. Is it easy? Not by a long shot. But it’s worth it.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God to save us from our entrenched flaw of self. If I am mocked for trusting Jesus, it doesn’t shake my faith in the least. It cannot because the antonym for mockery is truth and Jesus is Truth!
A day is coming when mockery will be forever silenced. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:7-9 (NKJV)
Mockery may be troubling, but its powerless. It is bravado used to contend with life too wondrous to comprehend. So take heart believer. Hold on to truth for the Lord is near.