From My Perspective - - -
The words we use have consequence. Words can affirm another or shatter a person’s self-worth; they can build up or tear down; they can encourage or discourage; or they can motivate or demoralize. Ridicule is one of the more painful verbal tools one can use. We find that ridicule is “speech or action intended to cause contemptuous laughter at a person or thing; derision.” Such words and/or actions can wound another deeply and leave scars that will last a long time. The primary issue with ridicule is that the intention is to demean and denigrate another. The design is to cause another to surrender to the inevitable and quit in his/her pursuit of a goal or aspiration.
It is interesting that the Republican Primary has now become the occasion for ridicule – the sole purpose being that one candidate can convince enough people to vote for him than for his opponent – in other words, to win at any cost and by any means. It is interesting that a headline in today’s Reuters News is: “Romney Ridicules Gingrich On Eve of Florida Vote.” Some paragraphs in the news report states the following: “A confident Mitt Romney solidified his lead in Florida polls and ridiculed Republican rival Newt Gingrich on Monday, calling his opponent's attacks ‘sad’ and ‘painfully revealing’ the day before the state's crucial presidential primary. Romney's self-assuredness was on full display during a campaign tour that felt at times like a victory lap, with the front-runner telling a crowd of 2,000 in Dunedin, Florida: ‘With a turnout like this I got a feeling we might win tomorrow.’ Romney shrugged off the continued Gingrich attacks, drawing cheers from the crowd when he said Gingrich was not doing too well and had been ‘flailing about.’ ‘I know, it's sad isn't it?’ Romney said, calling it ‘painfully revealing’ and adding: ‘You've just gotta shake your head.’” You can glean the operative words of ridicule – sad; painfully revealing; flailing about; I know- it’s sad, isn’t it; You just gotta shake your head.
The focus for us is – what should one do when personal ridicule is occurring? In II Samuel 16:5-14, we have the following account: “When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei…and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood." The King’s men wanted to kill Shimei but David restrained them. II Samuel 16:11-14 records David’s rationale – “David said to Abishai and to all his servants, Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite…It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today. So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.”
None of us should ever have to suffer ridicule, but if we do, how we respond is far more important than the experience that is taking place. Compassion should always be present in our thinking and practice. To reciprocate or respond in kind would be an innate instinct. However, the child of God has a loftier standard. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5) come to mind, as well as the words in Ephesians 4:30-32, especially – be kind…tenderhearted…forgiving – just like Jesus Christ did. You can do it if you try! Consider these things with me!