We have looked at the wisdom of knowing your limitations. Now we take the logical step of avoiding being a proud mocker. Pride is one thing. However, adding mockery on top of that will get us into trouble.
Proverbs 3:34: “He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.“
What is a Proud Mocker?
Pride is listed as one of the seven deadly sins. We also know that it goes before the fall. Whether you embrace God in some form or believe in a cosmic force of justice like Karma, pride is tempting fate. I think we all know the danger of pride instinctively. Our fables and stories for children are full of the dangers of pride. Similarly, mockery is often seen as practically an evil action.
Pride tells us that we know better. However, when we add mockery on top, it is doubling down. Thus, we show pride about our pride. When we look at pride as a form of blindness to our failings, then mockery builds another wall that has to fall for us to improve.
Favor to the Humble and Oppressed
We have to get biblical at this point. If you do not believe in a living and active God, then the idea of favor to the humble will be meaningless. This thought goes back to our earlier Proverb that described a fear of God. The thing is if you do not believe in God or some greater power, then it is tempting to think the oppressed will always stay oppressed.
That being said, we do tend to be more sympathetic to the humble and oppressed. There is a sense of justice we carry that says the powerful should help those that need it. Thus, even if you do not believe God moves through us, there is evidence that we do show favor to the humble and oppressed. More importantly, where mockery doubles down on the walls built by pride, humility serves to tear down those same walls. Once those obstacles have been removed, we are better positioned to live and learn.
Teaching Children this Wisdom
I like to think of a Harry Potter character for this nugget of wisdom. Spoiler alert, I guess, but it is the death of Bellatrix Lestrange. In the duel between her and Molly Weasely, we see Bellatrix so sure of her skills that she mocks Molly. This is cut short though when she pushes Molly too far and ends up overpowered and killed in the duel. If your kids watch this movie or read the book, then there is going to be a desire for Lestrange to pay for her deeds and mockery. It is just one of those emotions that are drawn out with good acting or writing.
In her mockery and pride, Bellatrix overlooks her opponent. This proud stance becomes her undoing. The blinders of pride offset the skills that led to that emotion. This situation is even something we hear throughout sports seasons and teams are warned not to “overlook” an opponent. In fact, that is often the reason given for famous upsets. From a child’s point of view, I think that pointing out “push back” that comes from hearing mockery is an excellent way to start this conversation. When you feel anger or resentment at mockery, then imagine what that could stir in an all-powerful God.