In the world that we live today, it is a very common practice to ridicule or mock people who are differently abled or who think differently than what is considered normal. This is instilled by the society from a very young age. At school, mostly we see differently abled children or differently looking children being bullied / ridiculed by others who consider themselves normal. It is done just because of the fact that they are different from the rest. Young to old, rich to poor, influential to non-influential – this practice is seen everywhere irrespective of cultures or language or religion. Have you ever been ridiculed / mocked for thinking differently from the crowd or behaving differently from the crowd or looking differently from the crowd? Or have you bullied others because they were different?
When ridiculed, different people react it in different ways. Some get offended and hurt, some cry, some shout back, some others get angry, some others build hatred and bitterness towards those who ridiculed them and so on. How do you handle ridicule? Do you show your anger at them or mock them back or hate them?
Let us see what the treasure book says about handling ridicule.
OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK
Is ridiculing an acceptable behavior?
The dictionary meaning of ridicule is “the act of making fun of someone or something in a cruel or harsh way with mean / unkind comments or behavior”.
… And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”Matthew 5:22
The word of God clearly states that ridiculing or mocking is not an acceptable behavior. Those who ridicule are in the danger of going to hell. But, everyone is not aware of this truth and in life we are sure to come across at least a few people who ridicule us. If we do not learn to handle it, then definitely it will hurt us. It will weigh down our self-confidence, brings in bitterness / hatred and might slow down or even stop us from carrying out the mission / purpose for which God sent us.
How did Jesus handle ridicule ?
In the Bible we see a lot of people, but Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life without sin. Hence, learning from His life is the bestest option we have.
RIDICULE BY STRANGERS (Mark 5:21-23, 35-42)
One day, one of the rulers of the synagogue named Jairus came to see Jesus. He fell at Jesus’s feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is dying, please come and heal her.” While he was still speaking, someone from his house came and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” When Jesus heard this, He said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” He took three of His disciples and went to Jairus’s house. There He saw a large crowd weeping and wailing loudly. When He came in, He told them, “Why make this commotion? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. But He put them all outside, took the father and the mother of the child along with those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And those present in the room were overcome with great amazement.
Jesus, the Son of God Himself was ridiculed. So do you think we have a chance out of it? Never!!! In this story, we see that Jairus’s daughter was dead when Jesus arrived at his house. When Jesus told the crowd that the little girl was sleeping, they ridiculed Him. He acted differently from everyone else and so they ridiculed Him. Jesus ignored the ridiculing. Neither did He bother about the people who ridiculed Him. He moved ahead with His mission as though nothing was spoken. And because of that the little girl came back to life. What if Jesus stopped because of other’s mockery?
RIDICULE BY NEAR & DEAR ONES (John 7: 3-5)
Again in John 7, we see Jesus being ridiculed by His brothers. They did not believe in Him or the miracles He performed. It really hurts when people whom we consider “our own” ridicules us. In such cases, we tend to react based on our emotions – screaming, shouting, crying or saying nonsense out of anger. But Jesus remained calm and answered them politely. He showed us the best and perfect way to react when ridiculed by our loved ones. It is not easy to behave this way, but with God’s help it is possible.
RIDICULE BY AUTHORITIES (Luke 23:6-12)
Jesus was also mocked and ridiculed by Herod, a ruling authority while He was under trial. We see that He remained silent there. Jesus is the Son of God and has greater authority than Herod. He could have behaved differently. The contempt and mockery by Herod did not get to Him. He chose to remain silent as His focus was on the greater plan of God – the salvation of mankind.
Ridiculing did not get to Jesus because He was focused and mindful of the mission He came for. Nothing else affected Him. Doing the will of His father was His priority. His ear was deaf to the mockery and ridiculing that people did to Him. Wherever He had to keep silence, He remained silent. Wherever He had to speak, He spoke. Even at the point of death He prayed for those who mocked and ridiculed Him saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” This shows He did not hate those who ridiculed Him but had compassion on them and interceded for them.
He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.”Proverbs 9:7
The word of God in Proverbs 9:7 confirms that you cannot correct a scoffer or a mocker. This is probably the reason why Jesus kept silent and did not bother to correct any of the mockery statements, but rather prayed for them.
Ridiculing is not an acceptable behavior, but we will have to handle it right.
Be deaf to ridiculing and mockery.
Doing God’s will should be your priority and not what people think about you or talk about you.
Rather than trying to correct a mocker / scoffer, pray for them.
Shut your ears and heart to ridicules. If not it will weigh down your self confidence and can even stop you from carrying out your purpose in life. Focus on God’s will and the purpose for which He sent you, not on how people think about you or talk about you.
Father, we thank you for teaching us on how to handle ridiculing. Help us to shut our ears and heart to mockery and focus on doing your will. Father, help us not be concerned about what people think about us but be focused on what you think about us. In Jesus name, Amen.