Let’s talk about interacting with wicked people:
“And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.” -2Th 3:2
Paul was no stranger to people who resisted the gospel and did so violently (See Acts chapters 9 and 23). And so it’s not surprising that Paul would ask other churches as well to pray for him to be delivered from people who oppose the gospel (Rom 15:31).
We are blessed here in the West to commonly only encounter mockers and scoffers. However, that doesn’t mean that those bullies can’t cause significant scars. As it turns out, it could be said that mockers and scoffers do as much or possibly more damage than the ones who are physically violent.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I’m glad you asked. In the sixth chapter of the book of Proverbs we read,
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
One of the types of people who stirs up conflict in a community are mockers and scoffers (See Psa 101:5). Here, Proverbs places a person who stirs up conflict in the same list as a person who sheds innocent blood. On top of that, mockers have the honor of being mentioned in the very first verse of the very first psalm.
Why is that?
Well, let’s take a look at what the Lord says:
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” - Mat 12:25
People who cause strife and division have the power to take down entire kingdoms. Mockers have the power to stir up those who are willing to shed innocent blood to do it. They are able to entice people to lie about the groups they mock, to make those groups not only seem dumb but also dangerous. Scoffers are able to destroy morale and promote societal decay. They promote societal regression.
How do we combat this tactic designed to tear us apart? Again the Lord has given us the answer:
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” - Mat 7:6
The point of this verse is that Christians are not obligated to dispute the gospel with those who are hard-hearted. In fact, it seems better to leave them alone (Compare Mat 10:14 and 15:14). And it’s good advice because they don’t want to hear your wise words anyway (Pro 13:9). However, if a mocker is among the believers, they ought to be punished in accordance with Jesus’ command in Mat 18:15-20.
“Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.” - Pro 22:10
What do you think about mockers and scoffers? Do you have a special way of dealing with them? Have you, perhaps, considered that you are a mocker? If, after some reflection, you discover that you are a mocker then you really need to stop. For all our sakes but especially for your own (Pro 9:12).
“I find that the spreading of the gospel is hindered more by people in the church than by anything else. No liquor industry, no barroom, no gangster ring has ever attached me - at least I have never known about it. But I have had so-called saints in the churches attack me.” - J. Vernon McGee
Bock, Darrell. Jesus According to Scripture (p. 146).
Constable, Thomas. Dr. Constable's Notes on Matthew 2021 edition (p. 213-214)
McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee. 5 vols. Pasadena, Calif. 5:419