Proverbs 13:1 (ESV) — A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Here is the essence of what it means to be a “scoffer” – one who gives little or no weight to anyone else’s opinion or understanding, but assumes their own understanding is complete, and superior to all others.
We live in the Age of The Scoffer.
I submit two examples: Congress, and The Five on FOX News. Though in truth, the Five is just one example of what occurs on virtually every news network – the problem is not exclusive to them. It is a human problem amplified in our media environment.
Here’s how the Scoffer thinks: They do not simply take what others offer with a grain of salt – they dismiss it out of hand. They look down upon and thus scoff at the thoughts, opinions, views, or observations of everyone else. They alone are the arbiters of truth. You are right, if you agree with them. That is the only criterion. Conversely, you are wrong if you disagree with them – end of discussion.
Oh, the discussions go on, and on, and on, and on. But no one ever changes their opinion. No one ever (if perhaps ever so rarely) concedes the other’s opinion, or adopts modification. It is an exercise in endless clashes. Each simply hashing and rehashing why they disagree. And it ends there. Hence our Government faces nearly total gridlock on every major decision, and the talking heads in the newsrooms rail hour after hour at one another, and argue with their “guests”. But no one changes. No one seems to be capable of learning anything from one who disagrees with them. They – we – simply “scoff.”
As I said, we live in the age of The Scoffer. It infects the way we interact with our spouses, our children, our parents, and anyone else we have to do with. It is a trap. One which inoculates us from being able to truly grow in Christ. Prevents us from being corrected. Hampers us from being able to ever adopt a better way. Our feelings are hurt, the way we want it done is thwarted, and we are soon at war.
The word in the original includes scorn, ridicule, boasting, mocking and dismissiveness. One lexicon notes that it includes being carried away with oneself.
Scoffers never grow. We cannot be corrected, so there is no means to bring us to a better place. We give lip service to saying we’ve not “arrived” – but we interact with others as though we have. It is a plague on the soul of the Christian.
Do not be sucked into it Beloved. Be humble enough to still learn – from any and all who bring truth. Especially as you daily peer into the mirror of God’s Word. Let it show you the blemishes, the smudges, the distortions. And listen to the counsel it brings to make you better and better – as it conforms you more and more to the image of your Savior. Whether that confrontation with Biblical truth comes through your direct interaction with the Word in study and prayer – or through the lips of your spouse, friend, parent or child. Be willing to hear the Father’s instruction irrespective of the delivery method. And you will be a “wise son” indeed.