Those who mock the vulnerable insult their creator – Proverbs 17:5
So what’s the consequence of mocking the vulnerable? Well, there is a really weird story of caution found in 2 Kings that is going to fester…
“While Elisha was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and mocked him, saying, “Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!” When Elisha turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. (2Ki 2:23-24)
Told you that was weird! Forget the many layers of “really?” and accept it as a humorous tale told to frighten … just go with it for a moment…
Does the world really need to be reminded that mocking the vulnerable – the poor, the disabled, the downtrodden, (even all the bald men out there!) – is an insult to God? In fact, the followers of Jesus shouldn’t mock anyone – not the powerful, the rich, or the wealthy.
I once heard someone justify the behavior of those who mock others by saying that Jesus mocked the Pharisees. Their logic was that if Jesus did it, then it must be okay to do. First of all, we aren’t Jesus and “what would Jesus do” isn’t always a valid way to make decisions. If Jesus – creator of the universe – mocked someone, it doesn’t mean we have earned that right too. BUT secondly, Jesus wasn’t mocking the Pharisees. He was speaking the truth. His words were harsh, but he wasn’t making fun of the Pharisees. He truly loved the Pharisees despite being angry that they had become a people of endless rule-keeping instead of being a people in relationship with God.
“Don’t deceive yourself; laughing at someone’s weakness is not the way to reveal your strength. Your strength is in the help you offer, not the mockeries you deliver!” ―
“Mockery ends where understanding begins.” – Erich von Daniken
Not long ago, I witnessed parents mocking their child on the playground for being afraid to slide down the slide. I guess they thought it would motivate the child to take the leap. It would make their child tough. Many children might just take the plunge to avoid the mocking. But look what the parents taught this child … that being made fun of should be avoided even if doing something against your better judgement is required, that the child’s fears aren’t valid, or that the child’s struggles aren’t important. How much better it would have been to honor the child’s worries? To let them talk about why they are afraid. And to let them make the decision to slide or not. It is a teaching moment that can last a lifetime. A moment that can teach a child to respect their own feelings, to evaluate risk, and to make solid decisions.
Stand up for the vulnerable. But stay away from the mocker … if there are no she-bears around, there is still lightning! 🙂
April describes herself as a Red Letter Christian who writes about scripture and spiritual disciplines. See her latest book, James in the Suburbs: The Disorderly Parable of the Epistle of James. Great for an individual read or group Bible studies! You can follow her blog by clicking on the three stripes in the upper right hand of this page and scrolling down.