I believe that the more we grow in faith, the harder it will be to tolerate the ignorant speech of mockers. Harder to love the lost? No, that’s not what I’m saying. Rather it will be more difficult to take it when people deliberately target our Lord with ignorant scorn and derision. We want to protect the dignity and reputations of those we love; the more we love God, the more protective we become.
Recently my oldest daughter, who is ten and was just recently baptized, became angry with a child on the school bus who was deliberately taking the Lord’s name in vain. The angrier she became, the further he pushed the boundaries, realizing that this was an excellent way to get under her skin. I told her afterwards that while it’s good she is unhappy with such talk, she doesn’t benefit anyone by getting upset. “Our Lord is a big boy”, I said, “He can take care of Himself. Your job is to love people like this and be a good witness for Jesus”.
Oh, how easy it is for me to give advice like this, how hard for me to take it when my Lord’s name is being targeted and blasphemed! What does the bible have to say in such circumstances?
The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.
- Proverbs 3:34
"But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. "
- Matthew 23:12
We are encouraged to remember the end-game here. Our Lord does not, in fact, need our protection (though I’m certain He is honoured by our devotion). He reminds us that He has the last say, and those of us who have chosen to honour Him with our hearts and mouths will receive honour in return.
Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God?
- James 4:4
"God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
- Matthew 5:11-12
"Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!"
- Matthew 10:34-36
We are reminded that we’re not supposed to be friends with the world. If we are Jesus’ disciples, we are to expect enmity. We are living in territory that is unlawfully and diabolically held by Satan himself. You are surrounded by his subjects. Why does Jesus command us to love our enemies? Because we have them.
God’s enemies are your enemies. And while you are under instructions to love your enemies, your enemies are under no such orders. On the contrary, they break faith with the Devil when they treat you kindly. Remember that.
"If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day."
- Matthew 10:14-15
"Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”
- Matthew 7:6
While we are never permitted to “turn off our love”, we are permitted, instructed in fact, to cease throwing God’s pearl’s before swine and take the message to more receptive ears. Discerning this, of course, takes the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I’m reminded of Nabeel Qureshi’s amazing conversion from Islam, and how it took place thanks mainly to the persistence of his friend David, who ministered to him for years. But noticeably absent from this story is Nabeel persecuting his friend David, heaping scorn and derision on his head.
Why? Because it didn’t happen. They had fights, of course, and ignorant things were said, but there is little mention of David having to endure a consistent barrage of blasphemy for his efforts. Had that been the case, I think, he would have been well advised to walk away. The bottom line? If those we are witnessing to insist on ignorance and blasphemy, unless we feel specifically called to keep at it, there are more receptive audiences to whom we can and ought to go.
Bottom line, it’s tough to take it when people joyfully mock our Lord; but it’s a part of the deal. Fortunately, we have scripture, prayer, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, to see us through. Amen.
Colin McComb lives in Edson, Alberta with his wife, Gail, and their three lovely children.