“If you are a mocker you alone will suffer” Proverbs 9:12  (NIV)

Shortly before my nineteenth birthday I was made alive with Christ when I confessed my sin and was saved by His grace. From the get go I received my fair share of ridicule and contempt for my new found faith. My father, for one, mocked me whenever I tried to share the gospel story with him. A proud man, and not one to need what he referred to as the “crutch of religion”, I remember the time he brushed me off, saying, “Lawson, it’s just a phase you’re going through, you’ll grow out of it . . .”

Mockers and scoffers; if we don’t know one we may be one. In my second year of teaching at Greenside High School in Johannesburg, South Africa, a student teacher was assigned to me for six weeks of teaching practice. The day the teacher arrived I was busy with a group of thirty grade eight students who, with finely sharpened pencils in hand, were poring over their technical drawings. When the student teacher walked through the door, we were surprised to see that she was a woman. Surprised may be an understatement, we were shocked. A line had been crossed; the dyke breached! In those days Woodwork and Metalwork were subjects taught exclusively by males. It was how society was ordered. Girls studied Home Economics and boys studied Industrial Arts.

So you can imagine, every eye was on the student teacher as she entered the classroom. Keeping what I hoped was a ‘business as usual’ look on my face I welcomed her to the center. She introduced herself with obvious nervousness and moved off towards the relative safety of my desk.  I had barely resumed the lesson when a splintering sound and piercing scream caused me to wheel around in time to see the poor woman collapsing to the floor in a tangle of skirts and chair legs. Instead of going to the chair at my desk she’d sat down on a broken chair I’d left propped under the chalkboard. Well, suffice to say, bedlam  ensued. There was no restraining a class of high-spirited young men. Their disrespectful laughter, jeering, and scoffing denied the unfortunate teacher any chance to save face . . .

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