Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Week Forty-Three - Scorners

Beside the Well
            What?  A Christian scorner?  Sadly, I have heard too much of this recently.  The conversation usually pivots around one person sharing something about the Lord with a fellow Christian, and then loads of doubt, rejection, and ridicule pour from their friend.  The attitude is usually one of supposed superiority leaving the other person feeling foolish for having shared their opinion.  Scorning is also speaking against people behind their back, laughing at the preacher, mocking Bible truth or treating God’s word with contempt, and is akin to gossiping and causing division.
            Let’s look at what the English dictionary says, “To look down on something or someone, to consider a person or object despicable or inferior, to speak with contempt (an attitude of disgust or hatred), to consider or treat as contemptible or unworthy, to reject or refuse.”     
            The International Standard Bible Encyclopediadelves deeper into the definition saying the word comes from a Danish word meaning dirt or mud. Scorning is a reaction that occurs when one is confronted with a person or a proposition that evokes a sense of superiority awakening mingled resentments.  Scorn, then, is a hot, fierce emotion connected with an arrogant sense of self-esteem.
            The Bible meaning, from Strong’s Concordance, defines it as, “to laugh at, to despise or ridicule, to mock, the hostile speech of rebellious fools.”
            And where did this happen in the Bible?  Sanballat and Tobiah scorned Nehemiah as he began to build the wall (Nehemiah 2:19). Job’s friends scorned him and mocked his plight (Job 12:4, 16:20, 22:19).  It is prophesied in Psalm 22:7 that our Lord would be scorned. The surrounding nations scorned Israel (Psalm 44:13).  The people scorned as Jesus arrived to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Luke 8:53).
            What is the Bible’s opinion on scorning? Let’s divide this by questions.
            First, what is the attitude of a scorner?  They love to scorn. Proverbs 1:22, “…and the scorners delight in their scorning.”  They are characterized by pride, arrogance, and anger. “Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath” (Proverbs 21:24).  They do not like instruction or correction.  “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee” (Proverbs 9:8).  Matter of fact, they will choose not hear you.  “…but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1).  And they will not appreciate you.  “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise”(Proverbs 15:12).  They are wise in their own conceits!
            How are we to deal with scorners?  Carefully.  “He that reproveth and scorner getteth to himself shame” (Proverbs 9:7).  But purposefully.  “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease”(Proverbs 22:10).  Because dealing with them helps others to avoid the same. “When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise”(Proverbs 21:11) “Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware”(Proverbs 19:25).  Probably best not to have scorners as close friends then, huh?
            What will happen to scorners?  They may act and think they know it all, but God says, “A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not”(Proverbs 14:6). They bear their own shame.  “but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it”(Proverbs 9:12).  They will be judged.  “Judgments are prepared for scorners”(Proverbs 19:29). Men will withdraw their friendship. “the scorner is an abomination to men”(Proverbs 24:9).
            What are God’s attitude and instruction?  He is less than impressed with the pride and snootiness of the scorner. “Surely he scorneth the scorners, but he giveth grace unto the lowly” (Proverbs 3:34).  And he warns his children to stay away.  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful”(Psalm 1:1).
            With that bit of Bible word study, I think we can all agree that scorning is not an appropriate attitude for a Christian.  We are to be characterized by humility instead of pride, by uplifting others instead of tearing them down, and by obedient faith as opposed to self-righteous debating.
            Are you a Christian who scorns? I hope not.

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