Something has been bugging me. I’ve been careful to think about this “issue” before discussing it. I’ve been a Christian for a while, having come to Christ as a teenager who lived a violent and vile life. I’ve seen both sides of the cross – those who follow Christ and those who do not. While I have experienced radical transformation in my life, I am not perfect, so I try to give grace to others. But, like I said, I am not perfect.

Unfortunately, I am not alone in my imperfection, and grace is not as pervasive as I would hope in the church.

You’ve seen/heard the sensational stories of churches gone on the attack. We can see that animal. We can compartmentalize it. However, there is a more stealthy beast in the house. He (or she) does nothing so grand. Yet, he is just as dangerous, maybe more so. He sits in judgment of other Christians. He makes wild assumptions of motives, and uses those assumptions as fodder for scoffing. He wears cynics glasses and views his faith family through mocking lenses.

1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not witherβ€”
whatever they do prospers.
(Psalm 1:1-3)

It almost seems “cool” to be cynical about church people and their endeavors. We mock Christian movies. We mock Christian advertisements. We mock Christian business. We mock Christian religious practices. We mock Christian websites. We mock Christian music. We mock Christian piety. I can go on and on!

It’s been bothering for weeks, and then just today, I saw someone who is supposedly in the business of making churches better, who made a huge assumption of an unnamed customer’s motives and publicly mocked them. Let us not walk in the way of the wicked, scoffing and mocking. Let us walk in encouragement. Let us endeavor to lift the bar with one another, not over one another. Let us truly put others’ interests first.

In confession, I am sometimes that “holy” scoffer. The recognition of this in myself only fuels my concern about it and sensitivity to it. God, forgive me, and transform me as I recognize my failing.

26 thoughts on “holy.scoffers”

  1. I’ve been on both sides of the scoffing and mocking. It is hard to reign it in all the time, but it’s necessary and good. We have to grow out of that cynicism because to receive the Kingdom of God we have to come like a child, and the vast majority of kids aren’t cynics. I want Jesus and I want His Kingdom so I have to make a choice. Great post, Herb.

  2. I’ve found that if I listen to a persons most critical areas of attack I can discern a wound that needs grace. It takes patience and thick skin to absorb the abuse while diagnosing the cause. The one who is most critical of my parenting style tends to have a deep wound from a parent. The one who is most critical of my motives is usually bothered by a wound caused from someone’s past rejection. The one who is critical of my preaching is typically dealing with a shame that is eating them up. I once was attacked verbally by a husband of a church member who was mad that we shook hands in church because of the germs we were spreading… when I simply reached out my hand and pulled him in to a hug, he broke down crying and I had the pleasure of baptizing him a few months later. No matter how abusive the attack that comes, I try to first understand before being understood. Does not always work of course, but when it does I get to see some amazing things. So sorry that Christians lash out when they really need to reach out. I confess to failing more than I want to admit in this area as well Herb, thanks for the post.

    1. Good stuff, Russ – we as a people need to decide to choose to be like that tree planted in the living water of God being encouragers – not scoffers under a withered tree (like Jonah).

  3. Thats deep man. Definitely a fine line between observation and scoffing. I’ve absolutely scoffed at believers around me before. Thanks for giving something to ponder over today, and something to repent of πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve done this in the past and God really convicted me of it a few years ago. It really bothers me now to see people who claim to be Christians building platforms and writing books to profit themselves by tearing down other Christians. “Christians” that attack and mock someone for choosing God’s word over what the world wants people to do. I honestly wonder if these are the false teachers we’re warned about in the Bible.

  5. Amen! Unfortunately, in the business world when people do this, they say “it is only business.” In the business world it is ever so important we act respectable and biblically in all transactions. I believe it is insecurity and sometimes lack of knowledge that causes people to scoff. We all have to be aware of our insecurities and not try to please the people we are with-but stand firm in our faith and be the encourager in the right direction.
    Thanks for sharing today. Always enjoy your site. Will be passing this one on. Blessings,

  6. I think we can all be guilty of this. But when it is so blatantly public, it’s hard not to have an issue with it. I totally hear you on that!

  7. There is nothing holy about cynicism. I’m right there with you brother. It hurts my heart when I see people mocking the church and complaining about it constantly. In my sphere of influence, I try to overcome all that with love and grace whenever possible. Everything else I try to ignore, because like they say in online forums “don’t feed the trolls”!

    Thanks for this Herb, well needed.

  8. I pray that God will make it clear to me where I need to repent and change. I pray that the Holy Spirit will perform surgery on my heart and make my sin known to me. I have been guilty of this and I’ve been hurt by it as well. Thank you for writing this today Herb.

  9. Wow! I was thinking about that today. Why do we, christians always have to be this way? While Jesus tells us the other way? I agree with Russell. I don’t know much but God showed me many times why some of my colleagues could be so mean. There is another face behind the face they are showing and we should show grace to them. God once asked me to forgive a colleague who has been hurting me for two years. It took a whole day crying and two songs making me clear that I was saved and forgiven too and I wasn’t worthy but He did it. So I forgave him. After that God showed me the true face of this colleague and it was grey. It appeared to be he was acting out of despair. He was unhappy and couldn’t get rid of it. God wanted me to pray for him. Now I have a colleague and she is crossing my boundaries and wants to control me. At first my reaction was that I didn’t trust her and be distant. But God reminded me what He taught me before. I asked Him to teach me how to get along with her. Be kind to her. I don’t need to know why she’s like this, I need to show God’s love. All I can do is ask the Lord every morning to help me cause I can’t do it myself. And make her respect my boundaries and I respect hers. I also always ask Jesus to stand between us. I’ve learned that if He stands between us we respect each others boundaries.

  10. When I first started reading this verse my heart stopped… I have been memorizing psalms 1 for a few days, applying it on a personal level… Reading your post helped me realize I have to go beyond personal application.

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