“You ever see someone sneer?” I asked Stan one morning.
“Sneer?” He responded. “Yeah, I’ve seen that; and it’s not very pretty. Why do you ask?”
“Well,” I replied, “I was talking with one of my neighbors last night about my faith.”
“And he sneered?” Stan asked.
“He did,” I replied. “In essence, he said he thought I was foolish for believing what I said I believed.”
“Sneering is easy,” Stan said. “For way too long I sneered at the notion of believing in God. In addition, there’s an account of some people who sneered at the apostle Paul when he was in Athens.”
“When my neighbor sneered at me,” I responded, “I wanted to get angry. What did Paul do?”
“He left,” Stan replied. “He said what he had to say about Jesus, some sneered, and Paul left; he didn’t get angry and cause a fight.”
Continuing, he added, “It was the same way with me. I didn’t believe in God and I sneered at those who did because I thought I knew a whole lot more than they did. Thankfully, they loved me enough to not react to my foolish sneering. They gave God time to open me to the truth, just like some of the others Paul talked to about Jesus.”
“So some of the people Paul talked to did not sneer?” I asked.
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “It says that some of them told Paul they wanted to hear more about Jesus. And it says that some followed Paul as he left and came to believe that what he said was true.”
Continuing, he added, “Just like me. God opened me to want to know more, I eventually followed and came to believe; I stopped sneering.”
“So,” I said, “when people sneer at what I have to say about Jesus, I’m to leave it in God’s hands. Is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Be confident in what you believe and don’t get sidetracked into reacting to the sneer campaign. You know who’s in charge of that! Just present the truth and leave it in God’s very capable hands!”
Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. Acts of the Apostles 17:32 – 34.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those who brought me to the truth of your provision of life eternally with you when it’s time. You are fully aware of how many people sneer at the truth, and how easy it is for me to react to their sneering out of my self-righteousness. Please help me in following your lead in presenting the truth. Help me to leave it in your very capable hands to open each person to want to know you just as you intend so they, too, will no longer sneer at the truth of your free and gracious provision. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever witnessed the ugliness of someone sneering at you? If so, how did that feel? How did you react to that sneering? Have you ever sneered at what someone told you about God? If so, what was that all about? Is that something about which you have confessed and repented? If not, why? How do you think God responds to such sneering? Does He want you to do the same?