Psalm 22:6-8 (NLT)
But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!”
Scorned. Despised. Mocked. If you are a Christian who stands up for your faith, sooner or later you will be ridiculed. “Are you the one Jesus supposedly loves? Then why do you have problems? If your God is so great, then why isn’t your life perfect?”
Such mockery is a shaming abuse that attacks us at the core of our faith. It is meant to elevate the mocker by shaking our confidence in God and reducing us to doubt and fear. Jesus himself experienced this abuse while suffering on the cross—from the crowd of Jews, from the Roman soldiers, and even from one of the thieves who hung on a cross beside him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Then save yourself, and us, too!”
The psalmist cries out to God against his mockers and then rallies his faith as he remembers how faithful God has been to him:
Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. (vv. 9-10)
The Old Testament describes how God repeatedly tells his people to remember: Remember how I brought you out of Egypt, how I fed you in the wilderness, how I have always been your faithful Shepherd. The psalmist teaches us that mockers cannot hurt our faith if we maintain a strong connection with God, actively seeking God’s company and reflecting on our experience of God’s care and faithfulness to us.
Jesus teaches us the same thing. Physically weakened and mentally exhausted by his ordeal, his faith was nevertheless strong and confident. “This day I will be in Paradise,” he tells the other thief, who had rebuked the mocking thief and expressed repentance, “and you will be there with me.” Jesus could resist his mockers because his faith in the Father was strong, built on a lifetime of prayerful intimacy and of seeking the Father’s will above his own.
FATHER, I admit to times when I am afraid to stand up for my faith because I dread the scorn of others. I want to be accepted and liked by everyone. Build in me the faith that Jesus had. Help me to remember your steadfast love and your forgiveness that secures my place in paradise.
1 Chronicles 16:11-13; Luke 23:39-43
What do you think prompts a person to mock your faith?