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Mock Battle

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Click here to read Psalm 119 on BibleGateway.com

 “The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.” – Psalm 119:51

mock Richard Dawkins, a well-known atheist, once told an audience that non-believers should not be polite when confronting Christians:

“Mock them! Ridicule them! In public! Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits. Religion makes specific claims…[which] need to be ridiculed with contempt.”

Of course, most atheists or agnostics are not quite as aggressive, but let’s assume for the sake of discussion that this becomes the norm in the world. How would you react if every time you mentioned Jesus you were ridiculed mercilessly? What if every time you prayed in public people laughed and attacked your beliefs? What if you lost jobs or respect or friends because you were “so dumb” you believed the Bible?

Would you maybe think twice before you prayed over your food in a restaurant? Would you back off of sharing the gospel with that co-worker. Would you hide your Bible in your backpack instead of carrying it in the open? Most of us would like to think we’d stand up under torture for Jesus, but will we stand up under insults?

MATTER IN MIND

Lucky for us, the Bible itself answers the question for us, and in just one verse, so that’s convenient. In Psalm 119 (yes, the really long one. But it’s good. Toughen up.), the author says “the arrogant mock me unmercifully.” Notice it doesn’t say “if,” but rather just assumes it will happen. Buckle up.

And the response? Pretty simple; “I do not turn from your law.” If the Word says to pray every day, then pray every day, even if there’s a man-sized furnace or a lion’s mouth in your future. It’s a difficult command for sure, but it’s actually kind of freeing, because it takes all the stress of deciding what to do away. It all doesn’t matter. Whatever happens, just keep following God’s laws.

At the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus makes passing reference to the kind of death Peter could look forward to, and Peter notices John walking by and says “Hey Jesus, what about John? Same thing?” And Jesus more or less says “Mind your own business and follow my commands.”

This is one of the toughest lessons for us to learn – it doesn’t matter one infinitesimally tiny bit what other people do. It only matters what we choose to do.

If people disrespect you and treat you like dirt – respect them anyway.

If people make fun of your morbid obesity and charming wreath of hair (hypothetically speaking) – be kind to them.

If people take away your rights – be joyful.

If people mock you and attack your intelligence and possibly your maternal ancestry – love them and speak kindly.

FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM

In our society, we place a premium on “getting the last word.” On television shows and movies, when someone has a good insult, the audience laughs or the screen goes black. Everybody enjoys having a good comeback. But we are called to do something higher; we are told to encourage others. Not when they deserve it, not when they’re friends, but always. That’s a basketball sized pill to swallow.

There is a lot of concern in the Christian world that we’re “losing our rights,” that the secular world is overtaking God’s people. You know what Jesus would say about that? “Mind your own business and follow me.” When leading pastors preach a message or start a ministry you disagree with, you know what Jesus would say? “Mind your own business and follow me.” When people talk about how ignorant Christians are, you know what Jesus would say? “Mind your own business and follow me.”

The reality is, a Christian’s response to the world is actually pretty simple. We tend to stress ourselves out about what might happen, or what has happened, or what is happening. There is actually a freedom that comes from just focusing on Jesus. After all, let’s say that we do lose all our rights and becoming a Christian is a capital crime throughout the world. You know what Jesus would say? “Mind your own business and follow me.”

See how freeing it can be?

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