Scoffers Among Us

Drive out a scoffer, & strife will go out, quarreling & abuse will cease.

Proverbs 22:10

Who are the scoffers and what does the Bible have to say about them?

Actually, quite a lot.

scoffers

What does haughty even mean???

haughty

Haughty, Scoffer, Arrogance, all of this is rooted in PRIDE.

Pride makes us think we are better than others.  We will think our sin isn’t as bad.  We will believe that our interpretation is more accurate.  We will divide our own brothers and sisters in Christ, based our preconceived opinions that we look to prove in the scriptures.  Those who do not agree with us, will receive venom from our lips.  Because, we can’t be wrong.  It is impossible for us to believe that we could be wrong.

This is because we have put our confidence in ourselves, and our own ability to comprehend the scriptures.  However, our confidence in ourselves supersedes humility toward God.  He gives us His Word so that we may understand HIM better and not to prove our own points or agendas.

As the days draw closer to Christ’s return, the Scriptures warn us in 2 Timothy 3, that:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

These scoffers, the haughty and arrogant, are not just out and about in the world.  They are sometimes sitting in the pews right next to us.  They are always looking to a new teacher, preacher, author, etc for wisdom.  However, they don’t recognize that they are seeking out these teachers who tell them exactly what they want to hear!

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 4:3

They will rely on the interpretations of others to prove their points, instead of seeking the truth in God’s Word.  They will not be sharing their own knowledge or understanding, but that which has been spoon fed to them.  They no longer are satisfied with the milk of the basic scriptures, but they don’t want the meat of the truth.  They are searching for the candy coated sweets that satiate their cravings.

They will argue against anyone who speaks otherwise, like a child who is throwing a tantrum because it’s mother took away her candy and replaced it with a balanced meal.

Even when presented with scripture, they will not recognize sound doctrine as they are too busy arguing their point.  They don’t want to hear any Truth that would counter their preconceived beliefs.

Lovers of Themselves…. I’m right, you are wrong.

Lovers of Money…. Look at what I have.  Look at my home.  Look at my clothes. Look at my purse.  Look at my shoes.  Look at my grand event.  Or … on the flipside… Oh look at how I sacrifice.  Praise my thriftyness.

Boasters….  Look at how holy I am, how righteous, how great of a Christian I am.  Look at the good deeds I do for the community.

Proud…. I am incapable of being wrong.  I have nothing to apologize for.  I am right and you are just not smart enough to understand it like I do.   I am better at…. fill in the blank… than anyone.  My way is always best.

Blasphemers… contempt to God or toward his Word when we disregard portions of the scriptures are irrelevant or worthless.

Disobedient to parents…  are we honoring our mothers and fathers?

Unthankful… for God’s blessings, discontent with what He has gifted us.

Unholy… willingly sinning or choosing to not turn from our sin, lacking repentance.

Unloving… not loving toward God, to others as we are called to do by Jesus.  (Love God with all our hearts and understanding, loving our neighbor as ourselves)

Unforgiving… not willing to forgive or reconcile with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our family members, harboring resentment, hatred, disdain, and ill feelings towards those we are called to love.

Slanderers… speaking falsely against others, particularly those who are apart of our Kingdom family.   Spreading rumors that tarnish their reputation without actual first hand knowledge ourselves.  Gossiping and complaining about them, instead of speaking to them directly.

Without Self Control… being reckless or having an inability to control our thoughts, words, behaviors in situations or towards others.

Brutal…  Do we speak truth without regard to HOW we speak truth.  Is brutal honesty or brutal attack our go to instead of gentle instruction and guidance?

Despisers of Good… Do we not appreciate the blessings that God gave us because it wasn’t what we wanted, or as big, or in the timing we desired?  Do we despise the blessings other receive out of jealousy or anger toward them?

Traitors… Do we betray God’s word?  Do we betray our friends?  Do we betray our morals and principles in order to get our own way?

Headstrong… Are we self willed and obstinate?  Do we dig our heels in against God’s desires for us, or His calling?  Do we fight for our way in our ministry service, in our marriages, our homes and jobs.

Haughty… are you arrogant, do you see your self as infallible, superior in knowledge or talent above others?  Are you prideful?  Always in the need to be right?  Always in need to be the person in charge?  Your way or the highway?  Are you incapable of being corrected, rebuked, or guided by a peer?

Lovers of Pleasure Over God… Where do you put your treasures?  Where do you spend your time?  What takes your time away from Bible Study, Prayer, and going to Church?  What takes your money away from tithing?  What activities outside the church keep you from serving in the church?  What are your pleasures that steal you from God?

Having a form of godliness but denying it’s power… What is the mask you wear?  What is the image  you project to the world of your godliness, holiness, righteousness… that is false?  How do you pretend for others, when in your heart you know it’s false?  Do you preach the words to others but not apply them to yourself, do not believe in them for yourself?  Do you stand above others as sinless, while hiding your sin behind cloaks?  Are you a modern day Pharisee?

SO RIGHT, I CAN’T BE WRONG

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Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just KNOW you are right.  Perhaps you have talked it over with a friend (or several), or even talked to yourself about it.  Maybe you sought wise counsel from your husband or even hunted through the Word to justify your side of things.  You have presented yourself as right, you have dug your heels down in the ground, and convinced yourself that the other person was in the wrong.

You have done such a good job in convincing everyone, including yourself, that you were so right…. and then it happened.

You found out you were, in fact, wrong.

Now what do you do?

You are probably feeling a bit shocked and overwhelmed, and uncertain of how to handle the next step.  Pride would want us to ignore it and sweep it under the carpet.  “What’s done, is done”, Pride whispers in your ear.  You could convince yourself that this is now a learning experience, and move forward vowing to never allow that to happen again.  After all, you learned your lesson.

But, is that enough?

What about that person you wronged?  The person you slandered.  The person you gossiped about.  The person you hurt.  The person who deserves to hear an apology.

Admitting we are wrong is tough.

Growing up my Grandmother was not one to apologize.  If she was wrong, she had reason to be wrong.  I remember, as a child, I was known to grab my grandmother’s sewing scissors for art projects.  I loved those scissors.  They were strong and sharp.   In fact, one of the first things I bought when I learned to sew was a pair of scissors just like hers.  One day, my grandmother was looking for her scissors and couldn’t find them.  She accused me of taking them, but I was diligent in my defense that I hadn’t.  I explained that I hadn’t even been in the closet, I didn’t bring any crafts with me that day, and I had no use for them.  She didn’t believe me.  Convinced I took them and was careless with them, I was grounded to the couch.  I would have to stay there until I was willing to admit that I took them, remembered where they were, and apologized.  Despite my tear stained cheeks, she was adamant she was right.  I was confined to the couch to “think about what I did”.

Several hours would pass, when my sister would arrive home (she lived with my grandmother).  As she came in the house, she handed my grandmother the scissors and apologized for not putting them back when she was done with them.  Of course, being a young child, I chimed in “I told you I didn’t take them.”.  My grandmother turned, looked me in the eye and said “If you hadn’t taken them in the past, I would have not had a reason to blame you.  You can get up from the couch.”.

No apology.  No admission of wrong.  Instead I was still to blame for simply giving her reason to suspect me.

This is probably where my desire for justice comes from.  I want the truth to be known, I want blame to fall where it should, I hate when someone is falsely accused or set up to take the fall, I want fairness, I want the same honesty from others as I am willing to give.  In those moments when justice is not being delivered, it takes me back to my childhood… sitting on that couch.

When we allow pride to take over our heart and mind, and convince ourselves that we are in the right… it can be nearly impossible to admit when we are wrong.   We brush it under the carpet, hoping that everyone will forget.  We try to fix it through buying back the relationship through gifts or doing good deeds.  Or, we walk away leaving it unsettled; letting the broken relation stay broken vs. swallow our pride to fix it.

It’s hard to apologize, because first it requires our full recognition that we did something wrong.  Pride will hinder us from true reconciliation.

Scripture tells us that if we have any argument with our brother, we are to leave our offering at the altar, find them and reconcile with them FIRST.  (Matthew 5:24)   How many times have you walked into church, put your tithing check in the offering basket and worshiped God… when your heart was still hard toward your brother or sister in Christ?

Scripture is not merely suggesting this is a good idea or wise decision.  No, in fact, God is telling us to do it before we can commune with him.  In other words, this issue has become sin & it stands between us and God.

Examine your relationships… is there hurt, unforgiveness, or unfinished business?  It’s time to do what God has commanded of us, to be a united body.  It begins with forgiveness.

Pray about it, first.  Ask God to reveal the areas in which you have sinned against your brother or sister.  Ask for God to strip away the anger and pride.  Ask Him to give you the strength you need to approach that person, and that they will have a softened heart & willingness to hear you.  Pray for reconciliation.

Then take the first step.  A simple email or text of “I’m sorry” can be just the kindling needed to get that fire started.  You may find that simple statement alone is sufficient, or that they have already forgiven you… and have been waiting for you to forgive yourself & be ready to heal the relationship.

Colossians 3:13   

Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.