Mockery Week: Psalms & Proverbs

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” (Psalm 1:1)

Welcome to Mockery Week on the devo—a whole week devoted to discovering the downside of being what David and his wise son Solomon called a “mocker.”

mock_350What’s a mocker? It’s more than just someone who likes to make fun of people to get laughs. Solomon, especially, used the word to describe someone who tends to make fun of everything, including and especially the things of God. We might say a mocker is someone with an attitude problem—someone quick to label nearly anything “stupid.”

Mockers can be hilarious. There’s an art form to putting down people or ideas in a funny way. So why does wisdom warn us against being a mocker or even hanging out with them? Stay tuned this week to find out.

Think: Do you ever fall into a habit of mocking anything and everything? Do you see that as a problem or just a way of being funny? Is there a difference between giving a friend a hard time for fun and seriously mocking people you don’t agree with?

Pray: Ask God to help you to understand this week how not to be a mocker.

Do: Keep your eyes open this week for examples of mean-spirited, angry, or rebellious mockery.

Mockery Week: The Foolish Joy of Mockery

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares . . . “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20, 22)

Proverbs occasionally pictures Wisdom as a woman inviting people to become wise. In today’s verse, Wisdom wonders why anyone would want to keep being a fool. She doesn’t get the joy of being a mocker.

mock_350I wonder what percentage of social media qualifies as exercises in mockery. The posters see it as their job in life to point out the stupidity of nearly everything and everyone they come across. And they love it. It “delights” them.

Why? For one thing, it’s easy to mock ideas and people. It’s not hard to put something down. And it makes you feel smarter and more powerful than those you attack. Mockery gives the mocker the illusion of superiority, and that feels great. Wisdom says, “You can do better; you can actually become wise instead of just feeling smarter than those you mock.”

Think: Do you know (or have you been) someone who just seems to love to mock people? Why is it so much fun? How is it different from real wisdom?

Pray: Ask God to help you not to enjoy mocking people or ideas or especially his truth in hurtful or worthless ways.

Do: If you watch TV this week, see if you notice any professional mockers.

Mockery Week: When God Mocks

“He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34)

Wait a minute! If mocking is so wrong, why does God do it? Or to spin it around: God only does holy things, so how can mocking be wrong? Short answer: We’re not God.

mock_350Long answer: Sinful mocking is a sin of pride. It’s not just saying, “You’re wrong on this point.” It is saying, “You’re stupid, and I’m smarter (or more athletic or better looking or more ethical) than you.” When people mock God or his truth, especially, that mockery reveals a giant arrogance. And God cannot be arrogant, because he really is greater than all.

Can you imagine being mocked by God? Talk about the ultimate burn. But God is generous when we are overwhelmed by our smallness and his bigness, when we are not convinced of our personal rightness, when we acknowledge our tendency to be very wrong. Then he steps in to build us up.

Think: Is it scary to think of being mocked by the God of the universe? Is it comforting to think of him mocking those who mock him?

Pray: Ask God to help you to carry in your heart and mind humility toward him and the people he has created.

Do: Read Psalm 2:1-4 and Psalm 37:12-13 for more examples of God laughing at those foolish enough to underestimate his power.

Mockery Week: What Mockers Hate Most

“Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8)

“A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.” (Proverbs 15:12)

mock_350Remember, our Mockery Week here on the devo is not about people who are just good at “yo mamma” jokes. Mockers are men and women who make a lifestyle out of ridiculing most things and most people. In pride, mockers love to show how others are stupid.

One sign that you’ve fallen into a mocking lifestyle is your response to being corrected. Mockers hate that. And they hate the people who rebuke them. It’s not just that they can’t take being mocked in return, they also can’t stand having someone who cares about them gently point out a problem in their lives.

And mockers don’t go looking for advice from wiser people. Partly, they can’t think of anyone who is wiser than them. Partly, it would make them angry if someone like that pointed out a better approach to life. So they usually just do everything their own way.

Think: How do you respond to being corrected? Do you really appreciate it when someone is able to show you a problem in your life—or does it just make you angry at them? How often do you look for advice from people you know who are wiser than you?

Pray: Ask God to help you not to be a mocker. Ask him to help you to receive correction and rebuke with humility and gratitude. Ask him to help you to be open to hearing wisdom from other people.

Do: Look for examples in your life this week of friends or family member who respond to being correct with anger and hatred—or with gratitude.

Mockery Week: The Price of Mockery

“If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”(Proverbs 9:12)

“Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.” (Proverbs 19:29)

Mocking might not make you popular, but at least it always hurts in the end. I mean, living to tear people and ideas down is terribly unfulfilling, but one day you’ll regret every moment of it. Okay, that’s not coming out right.

mock_350Bottom line: Mocking doesn’t pay. It might feel good to us in the moment to take joy in scoffing, ridiculing, or belittling God or other people, but you’ll be shocked to learn nobody likes to be mocked. Eventually, society finds a way to punish those who make a lifestyle out of finding new ways to make everyone feel stupid.

Wisdom, on the other hand, gives out prizes to those who follow her. Life becomes easier, more meaningful, and more joyful for those who live it according to God’s wise design.

Think: Have you ever seen anyone suffer a painful consequence for mocking God or others? Have you ever seen anyone benefit from making a wise choice?

Pray: Ask God to help you to live wise and reap the benefits of that. Also ask him to help you to get a bad taste in your mouth any time you’re tempted to join the mockers.

Do: Any ideas about some specific ways or reasons that mockers might suffer alone?

Mockery Week: Mocker Hide-and-Seek

“The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.” (Proverbs 14:6)

We’ve painted a pretty grim picture of mockers this week—people who reveal their arrogance and self-righteousness by making mean fun of anything and anyone, even God and his truth. Mockers are people who pass out “stupid” signs to everyone who doesn’t do it exactly the way they would.

mock_350Today’s verse reveals how frustrating a life of mockery can be. Even when the mocker is ready to get a better understanding of how life works, he or she comes up empty. Why? Because the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

If you don’t start with the idea that God is real, that he designed everything, and that he’s always smarter than you—you’ll never find new wisdom. If you do, God’s wisdom is yours for the taking.

Think: Ever get frustrated in your wisdom hunt? Ever wonder if the problem might be that you’re underestimating how much smarter God is than you?

Pray: Ask God to keep you from being a mocker. Ask him to help you to be humble and discerning, instead.

Do: Make a short list of three examples from your life of being a mocker.

Mockery Week: Thanks for Leaving!

“Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger.” (Proverbs 29:8)

“Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.” (Proverbs 22:10)

Want to be this guy? Want to be the person who spreads joy by leaving the room? That makes peace by not showing up? That unites enemies by getting out of town?

mock_350It’s not hard. Just get your mock on and go to it. Make friends by putting other people down. Then make friends with those people by ridiculing the first group. Soon, you’ll be friends with everyone and nobody will be friends with anyone else. You’ll feel smart and special.

The downside is that you’ll eventually have to leave. People will begin to catch on that you’re the poison in the relationship pool. They’ll want you gone. But what’s so hard about starting over with another school or church or sports team? It’s what good mockers do.

Think: Have you ever known anyone like this? Ever been anyone like this? How do people “drive out” a mocker? How can a mocker stop being a mocker?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be wise and pass up every opportunity to be a mocker. Ask him to help you to bring peace to your group of friends instead of bringing disagreements.

Do: Pay attention this week for anyone who seems to make a room a happier place by leaving it. Would you call that person a mocker? Can you do anything to help that person become an unmocker?