Recently, I attended a local community event and overheard a conversation that disturbed me greatly. A couple sitting near me were making fun of an obese gentleman who was part of the event, but was not close enough to hear their conversation. After a few moments, their conversation turned to a different topic, but I was left pondering what I had heard.
Allow me to offer a disclaimer of which I am not proud: ten years ago I probably would have joined in the discussion and laughed right along with the couple.
I can still remember my mother telling me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Unfortunately, I did not learn that lesson very well. For many, many years, I used my tongue to make fun of others and talk about them behind their backs for a host of reasons. Unconsciously, I suppose I reasoned that as long as the person did not actually hear me doing it, I was safe. In truth, it never occurred to me that my actions were displeasing to God and a sad statement about my relationship with Jesus. My actions spoke like a megaphone to the world about the state of my character. I called myself a Christian, but I was a hypocrite. I looked nothing like Jesus when I made fun of others and talked about them behind their backs. My words were neither encouraging or helpful to anyone.
In 2008 I was confronted with a quote from a flip calendar I received when I attended one of the awesome CLASS speaker training events. The quote, by Patsy Clairmont, was like a sword piercing deep within my heart, placing me under a wagonload of conviction about my actions and words. Consider it:
Humor: if it is at someone else’s expense, it isn’t funny.
Suddenly, I saw my actions for what they were: sin that grieved the heart of God. I was making fun of another person just so I could have a laugh or, Lord, help me, feel superior to another person. What arrogance! What ugliness!
Over the past few years, I have consistently prayed for the Lord to help me see my sin as He sees it and to help me turn from it. He is doing that!
Do you make fun of others? Do you talk about people behind their backs and in a way that is not pleasing to the Lord? I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal any tendencies toward this kind of sin in your heart. I know you want to leave a godly legacy, and getting rid of this sin is one way to do just that.