(Western) Christianity is receives the most mockery of any religion. Why do you think so many Christians have a hard time being public about their faith?
This may come as a surprise to you or it may not if you are attuned to scriptures such as Psalm 79:4 “We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.” or Lamentations 1:7,“Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and wandering all the precious things that were hers from days of old. When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was none to help her, her foes gloated over her; they mocked at her downfall.”
There was a time when the church was a fearsome place: “None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.” (Acts 5:12) I imagine then it wasn’t so bad being public about your faith. Who wouldn’t be proud to identify with an organization that is held in high esteem?
Somewhere along the line, things turned for the worse, and today the Church is so heavily mocked that the mockery has nearly become an enterprise. Gloated over day after day, it’s almost impossible to miss: cartoons, advertisements, souvenirs, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, tabloids, movies, comics, posters, bumper stickers, and the list goes on and on. That is an enormous amount of gloat for a religion. But it doesn’t stop there, the Church finds itself gloated over even from within. I hear it in the mission field, the local churches, bible colleges, and even in the leadership.
What of other religions? I never recall hearing Buddhists in Asia mocking their own religion, nor Muslims mocking theirs in the Middle East, nor have I heard much of the world mocking them either. Most of the world are afraid to mock the religion of Islam, and rightly so as there is typically severe backlash as a consequence.
I think this should cause us to reflect.
“Jerusalem sinned grievously,” says Jeremiah in Lamenatations 1:8, “therefore she became filthy; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns her face away.”
“…her foes gloated over her; they mocked at her downfall. Lam. 1:7
This old tale of Jerusalem’s exile speaks a truth for us that is being repeated in this very hour. It is because of her downfall. It makes me sad to think of how it is taken for granted in our time and that getting gloat is just a normal fact of life for the Christian. I wonder if I should not ever get the experience of professing a faith that is honored by people before I die, at least in my home country. In remote areas of the world, I have had the privilege of professing my faith to unevangelized people without worry of gloat. It’s an exciting feeling as the response is usually positive, inquisitive, and inspiring.
But the fall is the sin, and Christ has made a way to reverse it. If a corporate repentance for the sin were to take place, then
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land [called Hephzibah, see Isaiah 62:4] .” 2 Chronicles 7:14
“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” Daniel 9:19