Psalm 1 (NIV) says “Blessed are those who do not…sit in the company of mockers…” As I was reflecting on this last week, I couldn’t help but be staggered by the number of places in my life where I choose to sit in the company of mockers. Mocking means to treat with ridicule, contempt, or derision. When I sit back with some perspective and that definition, it seems that I am surrounded by a world full of people mocking me, my values, Jesus and Christianity in general, as well as the life choices I am making. In the past, I’ve chalked up the mocking to ‘just the way things are’ or ‘that’s just the world in which I live’ or whatever. And while those rationalizations may have some truth to them, the last week of pondering this has led me to the conclusion that it is most often my choice to sit in their company. How many hours a week do I spend in front of the television, watching movies, listening to the radio, or my personal habit, endlessly devouring each bit of online news that streams across my screen.
Sure, there are fun shows that entertain. Radio can inform. Keeping up on current events seems harmless enough. But it seems easy enough to reconcile this verse with what we know of Jesus’ life here on earth. I don’t recall many verses in the gospels that are devoted to conversations about the good or bad of the current political regime. I think it is safe to assume that Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time debating politics with his disciples. He seemed primarily concerned with the condition of the human heart, not human circumstances. Even when he was actively fixing circumstances, which he did quite often in healing the sick and such, he almost always asked them questions about their heart.
And when confronted with those who mocked him, he didn’t sidestep their contempt, ridicule and derision with excuses. He didn’t placate their self-defined righteous anger with soft words. He risked offending them by telling the truth in love. Jesus seemed to delight in challenging the status quo, didn’t he? When the Pharisees tried to bait him with politics, he went right for their hearts. When the rich young ruler asked for a next step, he didn’t suggest a building program or a stewardship plan or a planned gift to the future church, Jesus went straight for his heart.
I’m not writing this because I have a prescription ready for you. On the contrary, I’m in the middle of the situation and I feel compelled to speak about it out loud. Because I am convinced that often I choose to sit and watch a movie instead of pursuing my wife’s heart at the end of a long day. While that movie may not overtly communicate that everything I hold dear is wrong, it does usually mock, deride, ridicule and hold in contempt the values I treasure and want to live by. Too long have I been content to just let that happen, to sit silently, letting the opinion of mockers spill freely over me. Content to absorb, seemingly unaware that according to Scripture, long term exposure to mockery is hazardous to my health. As is the case with most of my life, it seems, the more difficult choice is usually the one that leads to real life.
Maybe Robert Frost captured it best:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.