Fearless of ridicule
MOST of us dislike being made fun of. We want the approval of our fellow beings, not their ridicule. Sometimes we fear ridicule if we make a mistake or commit some social blunder, and sometimes we feel that by being ``different,'' by taking a stand for something unpopular that we believe to be right, we will invite mockery. It's not always easy to avoid derision if we want to stick by our convictions. Yet life could seem meaningless indeed if there were nothing we wanted to take a stand for. The crowd mentality urges the easy way, the way that often avoids integrity and high standards of conduct. It urges us to take the path of least resistance and tries to sweep us along with it, perhaps intimidating us through taunts and mockery. But we do not need to be swept, for we can face the threat of ridicule with courage and loyalty, and with an even greater love for God and man. Surely the government of man belongs to God, his Maker. Then, we cannot afford to be governed by narrow, worldly opinions. Realizing even in a degree that there can be only one true Mind, since there is only one all-intelligent God, we won't be swayed by the fear that there are numerous finite minds that can negatively influence us. We can be grateful to the Way-shower, Christ Jesus, for his example of courage in the face of mockery. Just before he raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, he was ``laughed to scorn'' for saying, ``Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.'' 1 The mourners even stopped their weeping to laugh at him, so scornful were they at hearing someone deny the evidence of death, which to them seemed conclusive. Yet Jesus was undeterred. He knew death to be a misconception and life to be the fact, and he knew his mission on earth would prove this. He was not fearful of the outcome, for he trusted God completely, knowing Him to be Life itself and man to be His likeness. Jesus' faith and understanding were so firm that he went forward confidently and raised the girl from death to life. As a young person I dreaded ridicule. I never wanted to attract attention by being different, and my pride forbade that I should ever look ridiculous if I could possibly avoid it! I was fearful, too, of being laughed at for foolish mistakes, and often failed to take action for fear I would make one. But as I progressed in my understanding of Christian Science, I saw how wrong my attitude was--how lacking in courage, how filled with pride--and gradually I began to overcome this fear. I was impressed by this statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``At present mortals progress slowly for fear of being thought ridiculous.'' 2 Mrs. Eddy had to demonstrate dominion over ridicule when establishing the Cause of Christian Science. She and her followers were often the objects of scorn. But she followed the Master in meeting mockery calmly and lovingly, and was not moved from her purpose. She writes, ``Pride and fear are unfit to bear the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in such hands.'' 3 I was encouraged to eliminate from my thinking both the pride that was stung by ridicule and the fear of making mistakes. I learned to trust more in God's loving protection and His unfailing direction. I found that taking a stand for the right, even though this sometimes provoked derision, was real progress. No one can be benefited by courting popularity at the expense of his own integrity. With God supporting us in our loyalty, we cannot be separated from His love, even when challenged by contempt. We can also be freed from making thoughtless mistakes as we realize that the one Mind, God, does not make mistakes and therefore man, His spiritual expression, cannot make them. Nor is man, as God's image, subject to contempt. This is the reality of our being, the spiritual fact, and it's a practical help in dealing with worldly, materialistic thinking. A quality needed to stand against ridicule is moral courage. ``Moral courage is `the lion of the tribe of Juda,' the king of the mental realm,'' 4 Mrs. Eddy writes. A lion is fearless and majestic in the face of foes, and we can be as fearless in the face of ridicule. No amount of mockery need alter our calm conviction or dissuade us from our right purpose if we trust wholeheartedly in God. 1 Luke 8:52. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 68. 3 Ibid., p. 31. 4 Ibid., p. 514.