Pastor Mark Jeske
One of my children patiently explained to me once why he would ridicule and belittle his younger sibling. “Dad,” he said, “I’m just getting him ready for the real world. It’s a jungle out there.” Hahaha. Call it “family Darwinism.” I still asked him to knock it off.
I know that game. In my college dorm, the ridicule was constant. I guess the guys justified it as a way to keep anybody from getting too arrogant. We anointed ourselves as God’s agents for creating a humble spirit in other people. I fear that we just perpetuated a culture of abuse.
Abusing other people is a sport. It’s how the pecking order is established—the most aggressive mockers rule the roost. Spouses do it to each other to establish dominance and control. Athletes do it to spread fear and self-doubt. There is no excuse for it—it’s just bad: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29,31,32).
You know, the trash-talkers were maybe feared, but they were never loved. I think you will have a lot more friends if you develop a reputation for building up other people.
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