Mockery is a spirit, described in Job 41 as Leviathan. There are a lot of other references to mocking spirits, although the word itself isn’t used that often.
Job 41 is interesting in that it describes Leviathan as a beast that absolutely terrifies the high and might of the world – and it’s no wonder. Those are just the kinds of people who most fear mockery.
And mockery is sadly ascendant in our society as a manner in which people deal with each other, particularly with the advent of Twitter, where mockery seems to be almost the entire point of life.
Listening to each other is quite passe when you can get in a really sweet burn. Understanding each other is a lot less fun than throwing someone’s words or actions back in their face in humiliating fashion. And because of social media, the average slob can now mock just about anyone and have it seen by all the world.
You may be sitting there in your underwear waiting for your welfare check, but you just nailed whoever, and your burn is being retweeted everywhere.
You did something! Actually you didn’t, but you feel like you did. And much of the mainstream media are helping to perpetuate the idea that the online mocker is worthy of attention and praise.
Let’s take a look at some recent media headlines. I’ll be bipartisan about this. The first three are from the Huffington Post, while the last one is from Fox News:
What news is being covered in any of these stories?
None, really, except for the fact that a spirit is running wild over a culture in which people crave the momentary plaudits they get when they run other people down.
Twitter is little more than a gigantic, digital middle school cafeteria. Those who nail the designated rejects with the most clever burns become instant heroes. And the mainstream media has become little more than a middle school student newspaper taken over by the cafeteria’s biggest jerks while the faculty adviser is tied up in the closet.
Certain spirits gain influence over the population when their proposition becomes culturally accepted, and right now mockery is at the height of its esteem in the American culture.
I’ve always believed that, in comedy, there is a fine line between mockery and lampooning. Both make a joke of certain people or ideas, but the distinction in my mind is that mockery is designed to hurt, whereas to lampoon is merely to have fun with something. There is neither the need nor the desire to inflict hurt when you lampoon someone. When you mock, you’re trying to leave a wound.
And when you mock others publicly so as to be seen doing it, you’re targeting someone else for a wounding in the hope that others who are carrying around that mocking spirit will approve of you and give you public esteem.
Now here’s the biggest problem with a mocking spirit: It will turn on you, and in the meantime it will rob you of your ability to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
The mocking spirit refuses to see the virtue in anything. The mocking spirit refuses to encourage, to hope, to help or to love. The mocking spirit refuses to believe in anything good. That’s contrary to its nature. It’s entire purpose is to run down everyone and everything that has to do with truth, virtue or love.
Who is susceptible to the influence of a mocking spirit? Often it’s people who have self-esteem problems themselves, and have been hurt by others. They’ve decided true love, friendship and affection are not attainable – at least not for them – or they’ve experienced too much pain seeking it. So they join the ranks of those who try to look like heroes by mocking the whole idea of it.
And when the mainstream media will give you fawning attention for sitting there on your couch and mocking someone, hey, why not? It’s attention you want and it’s attention you’re getting.
The only problem is that this is the closest you’re going to get to an eternal reward.