Definition of Mockery :
- behavior or speech that makes fun of someone or something in a hurtful way
- mocking behavior or speech
- a bad or useless copy of something
~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Mockery, though it may at times illicit laughs and chuckles, is actually very damaging to a person’s mental and emotional state, and to the people around us. While some might insist that not all mockery is bad, there are very few (including myself) who can utilize it correctly in making a point without it crossing the line of inappropriateness.
The Apostle Paul (whom the Holy Spirit inspired to write much of the New Testament) made use of mockery in just a few instances in order to make a point in his teaching. Other than a very few number of instances in the scriptures, mockery is considered to mostly be inappropriate and damaging in most of its use.
SLIDING INTO MOCKERY MODE
The biggest danger with our foolish willingness to mock others and their life-practices is that we might end up being used by the enemy to injure someone. We certainly have no intention of consciously being used by the enemy, but he is sneaky that way. When we mock someone or something, it inspires and develops a sourness of soul in us and in those who listen to us. They develop the same bitterness, self-righteousness, and contempt toward others.
The church in Corinth was instructed to discipline a man who was engaging in extreme sin. When the formal church disciplinary action had run its course and achieved God’s purpose (repentance) in the man’s life, Paul warned the church not to slide into a self-righteous mode of verbally pummeling (i.e. mocking) him and overwhelming (i.e. wounding) him.
If we are not careful, we too can easily slide from appropriate correction into inappropriate mockery of an individual or a group. In regard to the enemy’s sneaky ways, and how we could be used by him to pummel a sibling in Christ, Paul instructed the church (now that the discipline process had run its course) by saying,
“Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
… in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
~ 2 Corinthians 2:7-8,11
“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
~ Romans 14:10
Too often (we) pastors, in the name of teaching and establishing a “right doctrine” within the church, will slide into mocking another group’s doctrine and practices. The mockery is expressed by choosing a person or situation that really does not accurately represent the other group, but for our purposes we will spotlight, exaggerate, misinterpret, and denigrate the whole group on the basis of a fringe player or a freakishly absurd event.
THE MOCKERY OF WORSHIP MUSIC GENRES
For example, the genres of music and songs that are used in the worship of God are often the subject of mocking within the church. Mocking songs and music that people use in their personal worship of God should not be done, at all!
Mocking hymn singers for some of their seemingly “old-fashioned organ music” and their “cold impersonal recitation of doctrinal statements” is an exaggeration and a degradation of something that is utilized in a positive, meaningful way by brothers and sisters in Christ for their expressions of worship. Just because hymns may not warm one person’s heart, stir their love, and ignite their passion for God does not make it permissible for them to mock those who do experience a genuine interaction with God in a very real way.
Mocking chorus singers for their use of repetitive phrases and their “lack of doctrinal meat” in their wording, accusing them of offering God “empty worship” and saying with contempt “God heard you the first time, He doesn’t need to hear it ten times!” is plainly wrong. It too goes against the Spirit of Christ. Just because choruses may not provide a form of recitation of doctrine or warm one person’s heart, stir their love, and ignite their passion for God does not make it permissible for them to mock those who do experience a genuine interaction with God in a very real way.
While there are some great hymns and great choruses, there are some (in both genres) that simply are not effective in helping most or all people to express their heart to God in song and worship. Likewise, some hymns and some choruses have been written in partnership with the deeply moving and inspiring ministry of the Holy Spirit.
THE CHURCH’S MOCKERY OF GOD
Imagine for one moment someone’s horror when they discover that they have been mocking a song (or lots of songs!) that God had personally given to the church to help a number of them (though not all are moved by it) express their faith, love, and worship to Him.
When we mock how people worship God, how they pray and intercede with God, how they give to God, how they work miracles (in the name of Jesus Christ), and how they preach God’s message, we are not just mocking them, we are mocking God! If we think we are insulated from God’s response to this “innocent fun,” we need to think again:
“For we know Him who said,… ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
~ Hebrews 10:30-31
The psalmist also made reference to those who end up mocking God all day long, and how God will defend Himself:
“Rise up, O God, and defend Your cause; remember how fools mock You all day long.”
~ Psalm 74:22
A fool is one who is willingly ignorant of God, willingly rejects God, or willingly denies God’s existence. In this case, a fool is also someone who mocks God (and the things of God) while denying they are doing anything wrong.
Let’s discontinue the use of the “mockery method” in our teaching, in our preaching, in our conversations, in our debates, etc. We can more fully engage in studying, discussing, and discovering right doctrine without using the “mockery method” on people we don’t agree with, or against the mysteries that we do not yet understand.
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