Wisdom of the Ages: Meeting Mockers. How to Use Discretion with Difficult People. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, March 19, 2018
“Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult; whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse. Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you; reprove a wise person and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:7–8, NET).
Should You Mind Your Own Business?
Do you remember me saying that the Proverbs were more complex to me, in a lot of ways, than last days prophecy? This is my limited view. Today’s Scripture focus is the perfect case in point. To a casual reader, it would appear that the wiseman was saying that we should not call sin or injustice by their right names. Nothing could be further from the truth. As with all things, especially Scripture, context is key. Let’s take a closer look.
Have you ever tried to correct a mocker before? How did it go? Did you try to deal with their vitriol head on? Did you attempt to convincingly make your point while that person held fast to theirs? The thing about mockers is not just that they are beholden to their own opinions; I think most people are.
Mockers are averse to discipline, reason, wise counsel, and all that bespeaks holiness. Mockers are antagonistic toward law and order. This is why Jesus said, following His treatise on hypocrisy, “Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matthew 7:6, AMP).
Discretion and Diligence
The direct approach to mockers is not just ineffective, it’s detrimental. This is why I said that context is key! Reaching a scoffer takes more time and measured effort. Jesus said it this way: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The best route to the heart of all people, especially mockers is genuine interest and concern for their wellbeing. When they are sick or in need, be supportive. When they are tired and burdened, help lighten their load. When they have lost loved ones, be an encouragement to them. When they have needs, do all you can to supply them or facilitate links for them to receive assistance elsewhere.
Meeting mockers head on is a head on collision with many casualties.
A word to the foolish is wasteful. A word to the wise is sufficient.