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Dealing with mockery

From the September 11, 1978 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Few people go through life without at some time facing mockery. Children often tease each other unmercifully, and usually at that early age nothing seems more bitter than to be an object of ridicule—to be unusual and therefore apparently comical in looks or character, or to have different concepts of life from the average, which make one seem peculiar.

"Take no notice!" people may say to a tortured youngster. But it is well to learn the way to handle rather than ignore such childish teasing, because ridicule does not end with adolescence. It sometimes becomes even more pernicious. While satire has a useful place in society, mockery is a weapon more often deliberately wielded by senior tyrants for the purpose of breaking the spirit of one who holds unpopular views and forcing him to change them. And experience shows it can be remarkably effective in destroying individual and progressive thinking. It can even break the will to do what is right, making a victim follow the crowd into unhealthy and immoral ways.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy points out this obstacle to the world's progress toward the acceptance of the revelation of being as wholly spiritual and the demonstration of this fact in daily life. She writes: "At present mortals progress slowly for fear of being thought ridiculous. They are slaves to fashion, pride, and sense."Science and Health, p. 68; When we have discerned the truth of spiritual being as revealed in Christian Science, we should not allow anyone or anything to hinder our wholehearted acceptance of and reliance on it in daily life—certainly not the ridicule and hatred of people who are as yet unacquainted with it, nor the mockery of the physical senses, which testify to the power of physical force and the presence of material discord, the very opposite of spiritual, harmonious being.

The Bible tells of individuals who were faced with resistance to their spiritual progress in the form of mockery. Elisha is one. His experience immediately following his great vision of Elijah's ascent into heaven is an example of how closely the serpent of evil follows on the heels of the spiritual idea to destroy it through ridicule. The mantle of Elijah had fallen on Elisha, and his spiritual progress was such that when the sons of the prophets at Jericho saw him they said, "The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha." Coming to meet him, they "bowed themselves to the ground before him." Then Elisha worked the miracle of purifying the polluted water supply of that place.

After this triumphant proof of the power of Spirit, the prophet started on his journey to Bethel. But the carnal mind's resistance to his progress was present in the form of childish teasing. The Bible relates, "There came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head."II Kings 2:15, 23;

Nehemiah was another who was not affected by ridicule of his mission. When Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem laughed at him and mocked him for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, he was quite unmoved by their derisive remarks. He calmly replied, "The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build."Neh. 2:20;

The great master Christian himself was the object of ridicule, and so were his followers—as they often are today. During his forty-day ordeal in the wilderness, the devil cast doubt on the Master's claim to be the Son of God, and mockingly tempted him to throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple in order to prove it. But Jesus rejected the challenge.

Neither hostility nor mockery could shake Christ Jesus' faith in the ever-presence of God, of Life and Love. When confronted by the wailing mourners at the deathbed of Jairus's daughter, he firmly declared, "The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth," and he held to his conviction though "they laughed him to scorn."Mark 5:39, 40; Unconcerned by the physical evidence and the mourners' derision, with authority the Master turned them all out of the room and restored the girl to life.

Later, during the bitter scene when the crown of thorns and the cross became the symbols of supreme suffering brought about through the misunderstanding of others and their mockery of the great truth he taught, Jesus again handled the situation with the dignity and dominion we so often wish we might display in lesser circumstances. The Bible says he made no reply, but later the Master prayed for his persecutors, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."Luke 23:34;

When we are the objects of mockery today, and our spiritual conviction of the power of God as taught in Christian Science is held up to ridicule, we can be grateful. Did not Christ Jesus say, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake"?Matt. 5:11. We can rejoice in the knowledge that there is no new persecution to be endured by the spiritually-minded of the twentieth century, and that mockery never has had the power to destroy truth. We can face mockery with courage, knowing that God will lead us to handle it with wisdom. Then we will find that it is destroyed by knowing the truth of God's allness.

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