It is one thing to reject and another to ridicule. Rejection of an exposed belief system or opinion is expected. Put an idea on the market place and it is only logical that there will be a mixture of acceptance and rejection by those who follow such markets. But ridicule is quite another thing. Ridicule takes rejection to the level of insult.
I am a messenger of the gospel of Christ. It is my job, my passion to place the good news of reconciliation of Creator and created in the public square and let people have a chance to accept it or reject it. I think that’s what Jesus did. In the past, that included a bit of ridicule of those ideas I deemed to be worthy of it. Upon reflection, however, I can’t recall a single time when ridicule accomplished anything but a cheer from those “on my side.” I am persuaded that ridicule is not only counterproductive but downright ungodly (I Peter 3:15; Galatians 6:1; Philippians 4:5; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 3:2; Colossians 4:5-6; Ephesians 4:29).
These days I am out of the business of garnering cheers from anyone. I just want to lovingly and respectfully tell it like it is (or seems to be at the moment) and let people take it or leave it. If they leave it, we might, with mutual consent; move to discussion where persuasion might result in acceptance. In the business of persuasion, ridicule accomplishes the exact opposite of what I am trying to achieve.
Ridicule is pejorative, not persuasive. One who changes his opinion or belief system because of ridicule has shamefully succumbed to peer pressure. That poor, cowardly sheep has been caught up in the groupthink of the sneering mob. As someone named Philip Guedalla has observed: any stigma will do to beat a dogma.
These days, I want to walk away from a discussion with four goals accomplished.
- I want to do my best to persuade the other person of the truth of God, His Christ and His word.
- I want to achieve a better understanding of the other person’s point of view.
- I want to adjust my own position if I am wrong.
- I want to part as friends.
Ridicule results in no persuasion, no understanding, no personal growth and the end of friendship.