“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” – C. S. Lewis
Florida is known around the world for its balmy weather. Floridians enjoy 11,000 miles of rivers, streams & waterways. We have 1800 miles of coastline with over 1200 miles of sandy beaches. There are roughly 4500 islands measuring 10 acres or more scattered around the peninsula. Florida boasts 760 species of wildlife that exist nowhere else in the world (if you ask me, most are creepy bugs). The Florida Panther is our state animal. We have countless Amphibians, Alligators, Crocodiles, Turtles, Sting Rays, Dolphins, Black Bears, Snakes, Manatees, Deer, scores of fresh and salt water fish, and a myriad of unusual bird species – including the largest population of Bald Eagles in the Continental United States. Our state bird is the mosquito. Okay, that’s not true. Ironically, with all of the exotic wildlife in Florida, our official State bird is actually – wait for it – the Mockingbird. I kid you not, the Mockingbird. Yes friends, Florida selected the common Northern Mockingbird as a state symbol. (Incidentally the mocker is the bird of choice for five different states: Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee).
Northern Mockingbirds have extraordinary vocal abilities. They can learn as many as 200 distinct songs over their lifetime, including those of any other bird as well as the sounds of many insects and amphibians. A mocker’s song is an echo of the sounds that surround them. These talented little virtuosos can sing for hours and never repeat the same thing twice. In fact, they are such skilled mimics; they have been known to imitate washing machines, car alarms and sirens. They do this so well, that you would not know you were listening to a bird.
I wonder how many people live a mockingbird life; echoing the cultural noise that surrounds them by repeating beliefs, attitudes and ideas that they know little to nothing about. Mockingbird people often lack originality, vision and revelation. They become just another someone saying something about something that someone said something about.
I suppose we’ve all played the mockingbird role at one time or another. I have. But I’m in rehab now. It’s sort of like AA – Hi, my name is Joe and I am a recovering mockingbird. But this is where our comparison to the innocent little songbird will have to end, because human mockers can be far more treacherous than a perfunctory little bird. Let’s talk about mockery.
By definition a mocker:
- Treats people with ridicule or contempt
- Is scornful or arrogant
- Causes others to appear irrelevant,ineffectual, or intolerable
As a Christian, my worldview is rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic. When I encounter anything that opposes the teachings of the scriptures, then I reject it. Christians who scrutinize the beliefs and teachings of any individual, organization or social structures (including governments) are not necessarily narrow-minded bigots. We are simply being true to our heartfelt convictions and thus obedient to the will of our creator (GOD).
Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone – except God. – Billy Graham
Today people of deep religious faith, who believe in traditional family values and once generally accepted normative social behaviors, are regularly treated with ridicule and contempt (mocked). It seems like our social order has devolved into a quasi-free-for-all. It reminds me of a passage in the biblical Book of Judges,
25 “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 21:25 – Amplified Bible
This verse refers to a period in the history of the nation of Israel that began sometime after the death of Joshua and ended around the beginning of the reign of King Saul. When Joshua and his governance team were in power, the nation enjoyed relative decency and order. But after his death, times changed and there gradually came chaos. No distinct leadership existed in Israel during the era of the multiple Judges. And, there was no God in the land.
“Is he saying that nobody believed in God anymore?” No, I am not saying that all the people had renounced their faith and become impious boasters, agnostics and atheists. It was actually worse than that. The people simply paid lip service to the creator (GOD). They were mock believers. Their worship was meaningless as they followed the ridged formalities of empty religion. The scriptures describe their condition perfectly,
13 “The Lord said, “These people show respect to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Their worship of me is worth nothing. They teach rules that men have made.” – Isaiah 29:13 – New Life Version
Does any of this sound familiar? Right now, in our lifetime, many people are also paying lip service to the creator (GOD). This is an age where the darkened hearts of the spiritually blind habitually recite hollow prayers and follow the ridged formalities of empty organized religion. And paganism is everywhere.
“I’ve only paid lip service to a spiritual life.” – Sting
What about those who are in positions of power? It seems to me that much of the world is suffering from an acute shortage of genuine leadership because there is no God in the land. When our heads of state are wise in their own arrogance (and not full of the reverential fear of the Almighty), you have the potential for wicked leadership. With the blind leading the blind, the likelihood for a disaster is increasing rapidly. The scriptures put it concisely,
1-5 ” … in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God (mocking), disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. 3 They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at (mock) those who try to be good. 4 They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. 5 They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – Living Bible
That’s quite an indictment. The bible is less than enthusiastic in describing the character of humans as the end of the age draws near. Just remember, if you want to discern spiritual pretense, look behind the facades of religion and you’ll most likely find patterns of behavior that negate its validity. The warning is clear; do not be deceived by the songs of the mockingbirds.
“To mock God is to pretend to love and serve him when we do not; to act in a false manner, to be insincere and hypocritical in our professions, pretending to obey him, love, serve, and worship him, when we do not. Anything that amounts to insincerity is mockery” – Charles G. Finney
Mockers and scoffers are often the outspoken freethinkers. When it comes to the Christian faith, they ridicule, discredit, misrepresent and oppose believers and the teachings of the scriptures. This brand of skeptic and scoffer has been around since the foundation of Christianity and they will be here until the final trumpet sounds. Not merely content to disagree, they look for ways to make the beliefs of millions appear irrelevant, incompetent, or intolerable. The Newer Testament writer Peter warned about them,
3 “First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will come scoffers (mockers) who will do every wrong they can think of and laugh at the truth. 4 This will be their line of argument: “So Jesus promised to come back, did he? Then where is he? He’ll never come! Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly as it was since the first day of creation.” – 2 Peter 3:3-4
Maybe it’s just me, but I think every family has at least one of these mockers. You can do and say just about any crazy thing you like in their presence – except tell the truth from a scriptural perspective.
To be fair, not all who fit the biblical description of a mocker are loud and obnoxious. Some quietly scoff or laugh under their breath, while others politely dismiss faith in God with self-deceiving defenses like “that’s not my thing” or “God is not for everyone”. But since the Almighty himself has set the rules for the redemption of mankind, to dismiss Him is to mock him. It really doesn’t matter how polite, nice or kindhearted you are. God makes the rules, not us. If you want His help, His blessings and all of His many benefits, then you will have to learn to come to God on His terms.
“Noah walked with God; he didn’t only preach righteousness, he acted it. He went through water and didn’t melt. He breasted the current of the popular opinion of his day, scorning alike the hatred and ridicule of the scoffers who mocked at the thought of there being but one way of salvation.” – Charles Studd
As the man called Jesus, God took on the form of a human being and lived among us. No one has ever seen God. Yet when Jesus visited our world, He made him known to all who have eyes to see. Jesus left no room for debate. He said unequivocally,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 – New Living Translation
Mockers will continue to heap contempt upon those who maintain that there is but one revealed way of salvation. Christians are to pay them no mind. Remain faithful and obedient to the Word of Truth. Continue to declare His certainty to all who will listen and “All things will work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Just one more thing, to all who would be mockers, consider this verse from the scriptures,
7 “Don’t be misled” you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those that live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. – Gal 6:7-8 – New Living Translation
Part of God’s nature is perfect justice. Plant a seed and you will reap a crop. Your actions have consequences. What you do will come back to you. It can hurt deeply to be ridiculed, mocked and scorned – out loud or in secret. But as children of the creator of all things (GOD) we will get over it. We will also continue to love and pray for the scornful. Because this one thing we know for certain, God cannot be mocked. He sees it all. And one day He will have the final say – whether you believe it or not.
God, please let the blinders fall away so that some may find revelation at this moment and turn from their darkness to your marvelous light. Amen.
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656