Ridicule

Like a madman shooting deadly arrows and firebrands is one who deceives another, then says, “It was just a joke.”  Proverbs 26:18-19, CJB

Since the last blog, I have contemplated ridicule.  I suggested laughter as an aid to healing.  In laughing more we might find ourselves ridiculing others.  Laughter helps release negative emotions, but ridicule harms others.  When we laugh and tell jokes, we need to consider how it might turn to ridicule.

We pride ourselves in our intellect. We tend to think we are better than others.  In our pride we turn to ridicule. With ridicule we elevate ourselves, but this debases others.  Ridicule feels good, but it harms others and destroys relationships.

I confess to ridiculing people disdainfully.  Even if I rarely speak it, I still think critical, sarcastic, ridiculing words.  God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Let’s consider how we talk about others.  Talking may not seem so bad as long as the objects of our talk don’t hear us, but we could negatively affect their reputation.  All this just so we can hear people laugh at our wit.

We can test our words this way:  Imagine others laughing at us in the same way we are laughing about someone else.  Do we feel ridiculed?

Do we make others look foolish or inept?  We might employ sarcasm or mockery in ridicule.  We may tease a friend or family member in a friendly way, but does it seem funny to them?  Do they feel insulted and degraded?

Our words affect others in powerful ways.  We impact others more profoundly than we realize.  Perhaps we need to apologize to someone we wounded in the past.  “‘Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift’” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Further, we need to forgive those who have riduculed us. When we don’t forgive others, we might become like them.  To forgive will help free us from imitating them.  The process of forgiveness takes time.  It enables us to let go of deep wounds and to receive God’s love and forgiveness for us in exchange.

Reflection questions: Do we find ourselves ridiculing others? Have we received feedback from others regarding our harsh comments towards them? Have we felt ridiculed? Is there anyone we need to forgive?

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