One Bible Story Every Modern Christian Should Model – But Sometimes Doesn’t

Nobody wants to be thought a fool.

I sure don’t. I’ve always hated being laughed at or considered “not in the know” by others.

That was the story of my childhood – being laughed at by cousins and neighborhood kids who weren’t afraid of the train that ran through my grandmother’s back yard or big dogs or getting into trouble.

Mocked by even adults for having my nose in a book and taking Jesus seriously in 2nd grade. Derided in high school for refraining from everything others were trying in the seventies.

Sometimes I earned the laughter. Like the time I ran down the hill from my house to my Grandfather’s store and pulled everyone out onto the street to warn them that the Germans were invading our small town. Of course, they laughed as they pointed out that it wasn’t a zeppelin armed with weapons but only the Good Year blimp. Yeah, I earned that.

But, most of the laughter was about how much I was missing out and how lacking I was in “life knowledge” because I believed the words written in the Bible. “A little religion is fine,” they said, “but no one likes a fanatic.”

I think it’s because of those childhood and adolescent experiences, that I don’t like it when Christians find it amusing or feel superior to others who don’t know the truth of Christ. When others create arguments and defenses about topics on which the Bible teaches an opposing truth, I struggle when commentators deride them or mock them as “not in the know.” To me, it’s ungracious and unkind, and not the way of Christ.

For the past two weeks, I’ve listened to the story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter over and over (Luke 8:49-56). In this story, the mourners laughed at Jesus.

Jairus had asked Jesus to come to his home and heal his daughter. Along the way, Jesus delays in order to heal a woman who touched the hem of his garment. Before he can start toward Jairus home, someone comes from Jairus’ household to let them know it’s too late, the girl has died. Jesus is undeterred.

When he arrives at Jairus’ home, the mourners are already at their work. Jesus tells them “Do not weep, for she is not dead, but sleeping.”

Here’s the verse that kept replaying in my mind: “And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.”

The thing that strikes me about this verse is that they were actually right. We forget this when we read this passage. Those of us who are privileged to live on this side of the resurrection, might be tempted to snicker that these mockers are “about to get theirs.”

It’s not that they weren’t in the know. They were. With all the information they had, what they could know is that the girl was dead.

It’s not that they didn’t know something true – it’s that they didn’t know all there was to know. Their knowledge was incomplete because they didn’t know Jesus and His power.

When they laughed at Him, Jesus doesn’t react. Being the One who was truly in the know, He could have scoffed at them and made a great show of raising the child to life. Instead, He lets the life He brings to the situation speak for itself.

The church of our times (you and I) would benefit from reviewing this story over and over. We often lack Christ’s humility and that diminishes our effectiveness. We need to remember that we are “only in the know” because of His grace and mercy toward us.

We also are engaging in the spiritually criminal act of withholding truth from those around us. When we don’t speak truth into conversations loaded with deception – whether out of fear or a lack of faith that “it will make any difference,” we fail to adequately represent the life Christ brings to those with an incomplete knowledge of life.

And when we speak, we must speak with love, humility, and confidence in the truth of the spiritual realm – Jesus’ kingdom come.

This is only possible as we surrender to and lean on Jesus for every word we speak. What is impossible with us is possible with God.

The people of our times are in the know about many things, but their knowledge is incomplete because they don’t know Jesus and His power. This isn’t something to laugh at, it’s something to address by speaking and living truth at every opportunity with love, humility, kindness, and quiet respect for the value of every human life – even those who would mock or scoff at our faith.

There are mockers and scoffers in this world, but woe to us if we engage in these practices as ambassadors of Christ.

Let us, instead, be defined by our gracious, humble, confident, unapologetic, life-giving words and acts so that the mockers’ laughter may be transformed to eternal joy.

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Mary Ellen Santaniello says:

    Thanks for this insight, Lori.
    I’ve felt the same way about dealing with mockers. The uncharitable retaliation of some Christians, whether by clever words or disparaging memes, has made me uneasy. I knew they were wrong. We don’t fight fire with fire. As Christians we are to pray for those who persecute us.
    I appreciate the Bible story you have shared here and will meditate on those verses some more.
    Sorry I’m not able to attend your workshop today, but I pray that it is well attended.

  2. Melanie Gibson says:

    I was one of those other kids that got made fun of when I was in school as well – I did not have the cool clothes; I didn’t fit in with the popular kids; blah, blah, blah. Now that I am in my 50s I have done my best to let all of that go, but there are still nasty things that creep around in the cellar of my subconscious and tell me that I am not good enough. I had never focused on that part of the story about Jesus and Jairus’ daughter; what strikes me about it is that he does not internalize the fact that people laughed at him and made fun of him, but he just goes about his business. And again provides us flawed humans an example to strive for.

  3. Rob McCullough says:

    Thank you Lori! My heart is blessed! Too many forget that we are to be in the world but not of the world! Blessings and Life!!!

  4. Jan Clough says:

    Amen to that Lori a truly valuable lesson for us all!

    Some of the mockers of your childhood will have no doubt repented in leisure, but let’s hope there will be some who have followed your example.

    God bless you Lori as you bless many.
    Jan Clough