Tuesday, May 30, 2017
St Ephrem the Syrian talks to us today in A Year with the Church Fathers. He tells us about mocking people.
Once again (like yesterday), his advice is to stop listening to the person who is mocking. He says that if the speaker won't stop, to cross yourself and run from the room like a gazelle.
On one hand, I commend the good saint for teaching us the importance of holiness. Just like Jesus taught us to gouge out an eye or cut off our hand if it is causing us to sin, so we should take St Ephrem's advice seriously in how to deal with people who are mocking.
But I think it's important to remember love in this situation. If you bolt from the room to protect your own holiness, you are in effect condemning the person to falling deeper into their sinful activity. If we stick around and try to gracefully redirect the conversation, then we might help the mocker to see their error.
I think it's good to keep in mind that we're all sinners. We all mess up from time to time, and need to confess our sins. Tomorrow, the person who is mocking might catch us doing something else that we shouldn't be doing, and wouldn't we appreciate it if they helped us to break out of it? So perhaps practicing the golden rule and treating them how we would want to be treated... might go a long way.
God, please help us to remember love when dealing with sin... both other's and our own.