Scoffers Anonymous

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July 30, 2013 by lellielieb

Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarreling and abuse will cease. Proverbs 22:10

I have noticed that one person in a surly, sarcastic mood can shut down a discussion, and bring a close to profitable communication.  I teach high school.  I have also spent many years as the wife of a minister.  I have five children.  Scoffers cause problems.  I looked up scoff at Merriam-Webster.com.  I liked what I found in the synonym section:

scoffjeergibefleersneerflout mean to show one’s contempt in derision or mockery. scoff stresses insolence, disrespect, or incredulity as motivating the derision

Scoffing is the opposite of loving.  I know this because I’ve done it. My name is Leslie and I am a scoffer. I know that hard, nasty ball of anger in the gut, the bitterness, the pride, that can lead to scoffing.  Sadly, when the scoffing comes out it is often directed, not at those who hurt us, but toward others, our friends and loved ones, those with whom we feel safe.  Scoffing has to go.

We must be honest with ourselves.  We may follow-up an insolent, mocking comment with “I was only kidding,” but no one is fooled.  Mockery will stop a serious conversation in its tracks.  No one wants to be the object of scorn.

Some days are bad.  Sometimes I find myself in a terrible mood.  The key is to recognize it and to shut my mouth down.  Some days silence is golden. Lord, help me with this!

And another thing, scoffing is catching.  If I am in a bad mood and I take a mocking tone, it’s usually not long before someone else is chiming in.  I have just caused another to stumble.

Scoffing and mockery appear everywhere on TV and in movies.  Some shows provide long, brilliantly clever scenes of mockery and sarcasm.  The characters seem so happy, so chic, so successful.  That’s one of the reasons I love You’ve Got Mail.  In that film, the main character, played by Tom Hanks, is great at delivering “zingers.”  In confidence, however, he shares the awful feelings he has in the aftermath–the fact that he feels he has become the “worst version” of himself.  “Hello, it’s Mr. Nasty!” Sin never satisfies for long.

As a teacher, I don’t want a scoffer in my classroom.  As a mom, I don’t want scoffers around my dinner table.  As a sinner saved by grace, I want to learn not to allow scoffing to pass my lips.  Lord, help!

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