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Ridicule

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To define ridicule we turn to The American Heritage Dictionary. It says, "Words or actions intended to evoke con­temptuous laughter at or feelings toward a person or thing." Continuing, the text says, "Ridicule refers to the attempt to arouse laughter or merriment at another's expense by making fun of or belittling him." In the New Testament ridicule is akin to mocking and scoffing.
Jesus foretold that He would be ridi­culed. "For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spite­fully entreated, and spitted on" (Luke 18:32). "And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and ar­rayed him in a gorgeous robe" (Luke 23:11).
Perhaps the greatest ridicule was hurled at the Savior by those who watched as Jesus suffered on the cross. "And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself (Luke 23:37).
Another example of ridicule occurred on the day of Pentecost. As the Holy Ghost filled the apostles, they "began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). Many hearers were filled with wonder (verse 12). "Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine" (verse 13). Their ridicule was directed at the apostles personally. In reality, the offenders were mocking the power of the Holy Spirit working in those apostles.
From these verses we can see that ridi­cule is a powerful and hurtful weapon. No true believer can ponder the verses cited in the second paragraph without being dis­tressed by the ridicule heaped on our glori­ous Savior. Today, we know the sting of ridicule as we are labeled "one cuppers," "bread pinchers," "head dunkers," and other terms designed to evoke contempt and laughter. Considering these observa­tions, we need to take great care before we wield such a powerful weapon as ridicule in an indiscriminate fashion.
Truly, some statements and positions are so ridiculous as to merit ridicule. But, I assert again, take great care. The mockers and scoffers, those who ridiculed Christ, the apostles, and the Gospel, are not held in great esteem in God's Word.
I Thought...
A dear sister of mine has family that she enjoys visiting. They grew up together many years ago. An in-law of the group is a life­long denominational preacher. He seems to enjoy aggravating the sister concerning the Church. On a Sunday afternoon as they visited after lunch, a man was seen mowing a lawn across the street. The lady who lived there was an elderly lady that could not take care of this herself. The man doing the mowing was recognized as a local Church of Christ "preacher."
Some spoke in commendation of the gentleman's deed. However, the in-law spoke up and said, "I thought the Church of Christ didn't believe in working on Sunday." The statement was not a genuine inquiry. It was clearly a verbal jab designed to put down the Church with a feeble at­tempt at humor. Ridicule is what it was.
The sister did not reply in kind nor did she just let the comment go. Her response was, "I guess her ox was in the ditch." Outstanding! I wish 1 could think that fast.
Ridiculous
People who ridicule on a regular basis usually end up saying something ridiculous. The sister above related another instance where she was being drilled about a capella congregational singing. The explanation of no example, command, or authorization for instruments in the Church had no effect. The inquisitor, not interested in the expla­nation, ended up by asking, "But, how do you people sing without instruments?" Think about the question for a moment. No answer is really necessary.
While quizzing the sister on authority, the questioner wanted to know, "Who runs the congregation?" When it was explained to him that the head of the Church is Christ, both locally and universally, he then asked, "But who says what's right?" Now, think about that question for a moment. To re­peat, people who ridicule on a regular basis usually end up saying something ridiculous.
We will do well to follow Peter's encour­agements. We should not render "...railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; know­ing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:9). We should also remember, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you..." (1 Peter 4:14). -Frank Garner
 

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