“But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the LORD’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.” – 2 Chronicles 36:16.
Ever been put down? Insulted? Ridiculed? Most people have at one time or another. Ever been shamed for trying to do something you believed in? Something you were convinced God led you to do? While the Bible does not say anything about people mocking Noah and his family while they were building the ark, you have to assume given the situation, that people ridiculed what they were doing. Consider Nehemiah. He got the king to see his point-of-view. He got all the materials he needed. And he inspired the people to get to work. Then came the discouraging insults: “Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” (Nehemiah 4:1-3)
Of course, there’s no one more ridiculed by men than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. John 1:11 tells us ”He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” He was hounded by ridicule and accusations, throughout His earthly life, and died a criminal’s humiliating death.
When people intentionally or unintentionally make comments that discourage you from accomplishing a task or enduring a setback, it gets all the more difficult. If you have been insulted or ridiculed, what do you do? What should our attitude, as Christians, be when we are called narrow-minded, fanatical, judgmental, puritanical, medieval, etc? How do you pray for those who are hostile to your beliefs so they will see themselves from God’s perspective? How can you ensure that your response will make things better? The answer is to keep our eyes on Jesus especially when the discouragement comes our way. We have all heard that a commitment to Christ requires us to “take up our cross.” Part of taking up the cross is a willingness to be misunderstood, judged, ridiculed, and persecuted by a world that sometimes does not appreciate or understand our values.
Noah’s life can be seen as a model of patience, persistence, and unwavering faithfulness to God in the face of a faithless society. Surely it wasn’t easy for Noah. Noah’s warning and gospel sounded foolish to the people around him. In the same way, what we say may sound foolish to the people who are listening to us today. We must not be surprised when others ridicule us. If you are mocked for your faith, keep your cool and bite your lip. Don’t let angry people push your button. God will give you wise words to say if you let His love control your tongue.
Jesus said it best in Matthew 5:43-44: “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” How many of us actually obey that commandment? 1 Corinthians 1:21 says,“ Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. ( 1 Corinthians 1:21) The cross itself is God’s power at work doing what we cannot do. The message of the cross is not first of all a way of thinking or a way of living; it is God’s actual power at work to save those who cannot save themselves.
- How should you respond when your faith and beliefs are ridiculed?
- Do you see non-Christians as potential friends or simply as people God wants you to tell about Him? With how many non-Christians do you have mutually beneficial relationships?