Proverbs 22:10

“Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,

    and quarreling and abuse will cease.”

Proverbs 22:10 ESV

This proverb is as straightforward as they get. If you understand the word scoffer, everything else follows. To scoff is to speak derisively or to mock something or someone. Thus, get rid of the one who mocks and things will calm down.

A word to the mocker: Be careful that mocking does not become your character. The journey is very short between being disenchanted with one thing to being disenchanted with everything. If your response to a single dissatisfaction is to scoff at that person with whom you disagree, very frequently, that becomes your modus operandi with all people (or situations). Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.” In this case, scorn or derision is like leaven.

The apostle Paul offers a dire warning to those whose character is one of what he calls “works of the flesh.” In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul’s list includes, among other things, strife, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, and divisions. These particular “works of the flesh” are the kinds of things that surround the scoffer. What was Paul’s warning? “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The contrast that Paul offers, beginning in vs. 22, is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Lord, help me to see my tendencies to scorn those with whom I disagree. Then, help me fight against that tendency, guarding my heart from scorn and derision. And rather than scorn and derision, may I bring forth fruit of the Spirit.

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