The Cessation of Abuse
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. (Proverbs 22:10, ESV)
Solomon noted when we drive out the scoffer other abuses will stop. A scoffer is someone who shows contempt for others because they have moral values or religious beliefs that guide their life. Another word for scoffer is mocker. Scoffers (mocker’s) often make fun of others and make snide remarks. Instead of offering positive input they use their conversation or words to demean and harm; inflicting hateful or harsh words. Scoffers can stir up trouble from nothing. They have a tendency to mock everything—especially those things pertaining to the ways of God—and they have no fear of God or care that He is listening or watching. They are people who love to stir up discord and in their discontent, they make everyone else miserable. They cause dissension—especially among those who have a peaceful and quiet nature—and are not happy until and unless they are creating some kind of discord or reeking some kind of emotional or mental unrest. It’s clear scoffers or mockers are not happy with themselves and love making others unhappy and robbing others of their peace.
Scoffers do more than test our patience they wear us down emotionally and mentally, as continued exposure to them can cause us to question our own sanity and mental health. No wonder Solomon wrote about them the way he did. He didn’t have a good thing to say about scoffers. Solomon counseled that when we manage to drive out the scoffer, we drive darkness, confusion, fussiness, and chaos from our midst.
Are you surprised that Solomon categorized these things as abuse? You shouldn’t be. Some people don’t consider verbal or emotional battering as abusive, but it is. As abuse it can be even more harmful that physical battery because the scars it leaves don’t show on the outside and therefore it appears harmless and not many believes there is anything harmful being done or that people are suffering and damaged emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, or their soul is wounded and damaged. Maybe this sounds familiar or what you learned as a child, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”
It’s true and comforting there will be no abuse of any kind in heaven. And that’s an encouraging fact. But Solomon said we don’t have to wait until we die or take up our residence in heaven to be free of the scoffer’s abuse in our environment or personal space. We don’t need to get used to the darkness and pain a mocker introduces, but we can determine to drive them far from us; put some distance between ourselves and them. We might be surprised to learn that God’s Word supports this action: it’s called setting healthy Christian boundaries.
Praying Proverbs 22:10
Lord, where have we gotten in our head and become convinced that we need to put up with or entertain the scoffer with their dark and demeaning spirit? According to Solomon’s instructions we need to drive them far from us. Give us courage, resolve and strength to do just that but also may we be bold to activate healthy boundaries that bring peace and quiet. After all, You have not given us a spirit of timidity or fear but one of boldness and self confidence. Amen
Do you have a scoffer in your life? Ask God to help you institute healthy boundaries so you can enjoy peace, quiet, and rest for your soul and ears.