The psalmist was fed up with “the contempt of the proud” (Ps. 123:4). Perhaps you are too. People in your neighborhood, office, or classroom may be scornful of your faith and determination to follow Jesus. Sticks and stones do break our bones, but words can wound more deeply. In his commentary on this psalm, Derek Kidner refers to contempt as “cold steel.”
We can fend off the jeers of the proud by becoming like them, or we can view their attempt to humiliate us as a badge of honor. We can rejoice that we’ve been “counted worthy to suffer shame for [Jesus’] name” (Acts 5:41). Better to bear shame for a short time than to endure “everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).
We must not be like the mockers by mocking them in turn, but bless those who persecute us. “Bless and do not curse,” Paul reminds us (Rom. 12:14). Then God may draw them to faith and repentance, and turn our moments of shame into eternal glory.
Finally, as the psalmist counsels us, we must “look to the Lord our God” (123:2). He understands as no other, for He too has endured reproach. He will show compassion to us according to His infinite mercy.