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Meet the Mockers

September 17th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 3: 34- 35 (NLT)


34 The Lord mocks the mockers
      but is gracious to the humble.

 35 The wise inherit honor,
      but fools are put to shame!


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I’ve seen many movies, but very few have ever left me with a lasting impression of awkwardness as Meet the Parents (again, this is an illustration, not an endorsement).  Ben Stiller is a master at making fun of himself through his characterization.  As a boyfriend on the verge of proposing, Ben Stiller’s character spends a weekend with his girlfriends’ parents.  The weekend digresses further and further into disaster as everything that Ben Stiller touches falls apart before his very eyes.  Of course, the fact that his future father-in-law is an ex-CIA interrogator only makes the whole situation that much more hilarious.

Again, I’m always astounded at how awkward I feel when I watch this movie.  The scenes in the film aren’t all just “laugh out loud” funny; they are more uncomfortable than anything.  One such example is the dinner prayer scene when Ben Stiller, a Jewish man, tries to pray a Christian prayer to impress her parents.  The result is the most ridiculous conglomeration of religious jargon imaginable, making him look far more foolish than if he just would have passed on the prayer.  Or the scene when Ben Stiller begins making mocking motions at the vase on the parents’ mantle, not realizing that it’s actually the family’s grandmother’s urn containing her ashes.  Or even better is when he accidently destroys the urn, spreading ashes all over the living room floor.  Each time he tries to get ahead through something witty or sarcastic, he inadvertently puts himself much further behind.

What Ben Stiller has captured as a comedian is actually a reality of God’s wisdom.  Those who spend their lives in mockery will be mocked in return.  This is an issue of pride, as well as sowing and reaping.  What we invest is what we earn.  What we plant is what we harvest.  What we give out is what comes back to us.

This passage is called a “contrast.”  It’s a truth explained by showing the opposite relationship of two completely different things.  Proverbs is filled with these kinds of verses. This passage isn’t referring to comedy or to being a smart aleck; it’s referring to those who flippantly mock the divine process that God has laid out for each of us.  It’s for those times that we roll our eyes at what God has said and set out to sail the waters of life with our own compass of humanity.  There are those who would make God the villain in this passage, but really it’s just a principle that’s always true.  Call it God’s implementation of justice or call it unfair, but know that those who “mock” the road that God has paved are destined to almost comedically experience “road rash” on that very street.

In the end, Ben Stiller’s character finds acceptance and relief only when he lets down his prideful guard and humbly shares his true feelings.  That’s the contrast!  Those who pridefully and flippantly mock the truths of God’s Word will be experience the comedic tragedy of their own actions.  But those who approach life in humility, deliberately placing themselves lower than God and in submission to Him, will experience His grace.

It doesn’t take a brilliant theological mind to understand this principle.  In our own lives, do we not prefer to help those who are humble, kind, and compassionate over those who are constantly prideful, obnoxious, and self-centered?  If you answer yes, then take that principle and point it inward: which one are you?

The next verse finishes the thought.  Depending on which path we choose, wisdom will bring honor and foolishness will bring shame.  That’s a seemingly simple contrast with an infinite complexity that has yet to be embraced by the majority of humanity.  So many still “mock” the life that God offers, despite the “mocking” they receive from life in return.

But I can only change me.  I choose to humble myself and let God take care of the honoring.  Trust me, when I do it the other way– the prideful, mocking way, the results are truly comical.




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