In life, circumstances occasionally expose people of faith, especially Christians, to mockery or ridicule as they interact with others. Such experiences may occur in the office, in the classroom, during social meetings, or even in online communities where people who are not comfortable with religious beliefs are also present. As Christians, we often try to share the love of Christ with others in gestures that expose our faith. Occasionally, people may respond negatively and display their irritation at such gestures. Some reactions may be strong enough to embarrass Christians because of the mockery. Christians suffered bullying for their faith. Yet, to suffer ridicule as we show love should be considered a blessing, but the skill to manage the embarrassment requires Christian maturity (I Peter 4:14).
A recent online discussion exemplifies the maturity needed to manage these incidents, especially from the Christian perspective. There were reports of some corrupt practices endemic in a particular developing country. A debate ensued about the possible solutions to eliminate corrupt practices. During the discussions, a woman called Miss Jane suggested that national prayer and fasting to seek God’s intervention is the solution at this point. Mr. Albert became irritated, calling Miss Jane all sorts of ridiculous names including ‘stupid’, ‘gullible’ among others. Eventually, Mr. Bob joined the discussion in support of Miss Jane as Mr. Albert had bullied her into agreeing that Jesus and the Holy Ghost had nothing to contribute to the issue of corrupt men.
Obviously, if it were in the office setting where Miss Jane and Mr. Albert had physical contact, Miss Jane would have succumbed much earlier for peace to reign. However, Mr. Bob was able to steer the discussion back into how salvation can solve corruption among men, convince Mr. Albert that he had allowed his emotions to turn himself into a bully while allowing others to continue to offer other solutions to the issue of corruption as the debate continues.
But we are humans
Mr. Bob jumped into the discussion after he noticed that Miss Jane had deferred to the intellectual superiority of Mr. Albert. He skillfully defended the role of Christianity in managing corruption while comfortably eliminating Mr. Albert’s attacks on Christianity. It takes a certain level of maturity in Christianity for one to acquire such confidence. The scriptures provide for this skill (John Peter 3:15-16). The sanctification experience brings such dexterity (17:14-19). Jesus gave us this example to prepare us for potentially embarrassing circumstances such as happened to Miss Jane. He and the apostles warned us to expect these challenges (I Peter 2:20-21). There are people who spend their energy to watch Christians just because they want to faults. Yet, even Christians make mistakes. Such occasions provide opportunities to blame the faith and embarrass the Christians involved in the incident.
The Christian Approach
Christians must expect the occasional ridiculous reaction, either during routine activities or as they attempt to spread the gospel. It takes the knowledge and the understanding of the power that supports one faith to manage such challenges effectively (I Thessalonians 2:13). The personal experience of sanctification reinforces this understanding and enables one to overlook the challenges posed by the embarrassment. Since the ultimate goal of every Christian is to make heaven, therefore, such embarrassing occasions should not cause one to leave the faith (Matthew 5:10). Further, Christians should not forget that the mockers could still repent and become valuable Christians in the future. Apostle Paul is a good example. This was his advice to Timothy as well (II Timothy 2:24-26). Most importantly, Christians should consider such ridicules as blessings and opportunities for spiritual growth in contribution to evangelism.