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By Basilea Schlink

      How quickly we try to dispose of scoffing and ridicule as something funny and harmless. Yet we have to admit that ridicule is a sin, although this sin, in contrast to many others, even has a good appearance sometimes. At parties and other get-togethers ridicule can create a "humerous" atmosphere; it does not cost us anything; it makes people laugh and wins us friends.

      But the spirit of ridicule (which is not to be mistaken for the divine gift of humour) is a spirit from the devil. That we can see when we think of how Jesus was crowned with the crown of thorns. Here hell was let loose; it raged against its Creator. Ridicule, which often hurts so deeply, stems from hell. And whatever comes from hell and is sown by us will make us reap the punishment of hell. So if we tend to ridicule much, we have to see clearly that it is a serious sin, which will bring us judgment. The second letter of Peter lists the "scoffer" as one of the types of antichristian men that will appear in the last times (2 Pet. 3:3)

      The Holy Scriptures also tell us more about the wickedness of scoffing. "The scoffer is an abomination to men" (Prov. 24:9b) The first Psalm begins "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked...nor sits in the seat of scoffers" (Ps. 1:1). In Proverbs 21:24 it is written, "Scoffer is the name of the proud, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride." Scoffing and ridicule have one root: pride.

      Curses, insults and scorn coming out of the mouths of the proud is like poison from hell--just as blessing and humble love for one another is what makes heaven heaven. And whoever wants to enter heavenly glory has to be set free from this poison of ridicule at all costs.

      So that we can see this sin and its cause more clearly, and fight against it better, we have to realize how wicked our pride is when it is at work in this sin.

      Why did the adherents of the Pharisees ridicule Jesus? Because they rebelled against having the Son of God as their Lord. They lacked true power to fight against Him and so they fought with ridicule, mockery and abuse. Because they really did not have any way to attack the Holy One of God, they sought to humiliate Him with ridicule.

      We do the same thing, when we envy certain people, are bitter towards them or when we hate them. We rebel against them by using cheap and dirty tactics, against which no one can defend himself. We heap ridicule upon them. Yes, only a small, spiteful remark, a small bit of irony about a third person can ruin his reputation. And we know that our reputation is often worth more to us than our lives. So we have to realize that we can almost kill a person through mockery, ridicule or irony.

      One day we will find out how much damage we have caused. We will have to see the wounds that our ridicule brought others and the scars that they had to bear for life. Ridicule and scoffing are devilish and are the sign of the people inspired by Satan in the last times. If we persist in ridiculing others, we will fall into Satan's hands and judgment will catch up with us in the other world.

      No matter what the cost, we must be set free from scoffing. But how? The first important thing to do is to let ourselves be shown, by the light of God, that these mean, underhanded and dirty tactics come from hell-even if the enemy seeks to make this sin seem harmless. Furthermore, it will help us if we meditate much upon Jesus, crowned with the crown of thorns. Then, instead of scoffing, we will be filled with deep shame over what we have done to the King of kings through ridicule. Whoever continues to live in this sin without hating it and fighting a battle of faith against it will join the ranks of the opponents of Jesus.

      In every specific case we must ask for the Spirit of truth so that we can see why we react so quickly towards certain people with ironic remarks. Then we will see the evil root in our hearts; perhaps envy, jealousy or bitterness. Our irony is often the weapon of revenge, which we use maliciously, because we are too cowardly to tell the other person something to his face or to speak openly with him.

      But listen to what Scripture says: "Repent!"-about our envy, our bitterness, or whatever the root might be, and the godly sorrow we ask for will drive us into the arms of Jesus. Jesus will rescue us from this sin, which binds us to Satan, for Jesus has come to "destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3: 8) and to establish the kingdom of love where there will not be any ridicule or scoffing. Jesus is standing before us as the Lord crowned with the crown of thorns, as the Lamb of God. A lamb does not ridicule, but it is ridiculed. We have been redeemed to bear the image of the Lamb. As the followers of Jesus we should be prepared to be laden with ridicule, mockery and disgrace for His name's sake; for "a servant is not greater than his master" (John 13: 16). Then we will lose our desire to ridicule and, instead, we will learn how to bless our enemies.

      Behind this sin is Satan and he is ready to fight.
      Are we ready too? Then Jesus will be on our side and
      He is always the Victor.

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