continued from Part 1: the question
~ correction and rejection ~
In this season, my “Why” has centered on a certain theme that has been unfolding in my Christian walk over several years.
Lord, why do I share Your truth with others only to have them hate it? Why do I feel compelled to speak? And when I do feel compelled to speak, why am I so unsuccessful, so unconvincing? If it is Your will that I speak Your word to others, Lord, why is it so unfruitful? Why am I such an unprofitable servant in Your kingdom?
It is a question born out of a series of encounters over the course of years, encounters with friends and family and strangers alike, that bear one simple element in common…Rejection.
Within our own little family-of-five, led by my husband in God’s truth, we live in agreement in searching out and studying and applying God’s word. But outside of this little home-church, so many of my encounters in sharing the truth of God with others are marked overwhelmingly by failure!
Through many-and-varied situations, upon many-and-varied points of God’s truth, both my husband and I have spoken the truth from God’s word and faced rejections of all kinds…
❈ A long-time friend who divorced her husband and hated the counsel to repent of it.
❈ A pastor who preached worldliness and hated the counsel to reconsider his teaching.
❈ A family member who believed in evolution and hated the counsel to seek God’s truth in the Old Testament regarding creation.
❈ A family member who believed good people go to heaven and refused to consider that there is only one true path to God.
❈ Family members who attended a worldly church led by a false teacher and hated the suggestion that anything was wrong with it. They never spoke to us again.
❈ Strangers and connections on social media who have loved material things, maintained the dietary law as necessary to salvation, denied the existence of an eternal hell, denied that God is three persons and one God, loved and desired the praise of men over the truth of God, taught that it is impossible to understand God’s word without ancient Hebrew and Greek or training in apologetics or hermeneutics, shared quotes from false teachers, and taught incorrect doctrine of their own making.
All professing Christians, all crossing our path by prior relationship or social media connection or pure chance…
So many times, in so many settings, something comes to my attention that is contrary to God’s word. And once I see it, though I wasn’t out looking for it, yet I can’t un-see it. And I pray about it…Can I simply let it go, let it pass? Won’t they only hate me for pointing it out? Is it really any of my business?
Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.(Jeremiah 20:9, KJV)
And so many times, I find that words about God’s truth in scripture fill my mind. And I find that I begin to hope that maybe, just maybe, this time this person may hear these words, straight from the word of God, and be convicted of the truth and be helped and be turned away from an error and a path that can only lead to damage…
…consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins.(James 5:20, BSB)
Maybe, just maybe, this teacher who is sharing their doctrine with so many followers may desire to share the truth of God’s word with careful integrity, so as not to lead others astray…
Not many of you should be teachers my brothers, knowing that we will receive greater judgment.(James 3:1, BLB)
My soul trembles at the greater destruction that awaits teachers who have not been careful shepherds of their listeners…
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.(Matthew 18:6, BSB)
And finally, I become aware that if something has specifically come to my attention and I say nothing, then I am standing aside in silent witness and giving approval by default.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.(Ezekiel 33:6, KJV)
Because if God leads me to it and places the responsibility in my heart, it is not up to me to turn aside.
And if I can’t be faithful in such a little thing as offering a word to a friend or a family member or someone on social media, how will I continue to be faithful in other things, both small and large?
And there have been a handful of times across the years when I have offered a word of caution or correction, and it has been accepted with courtesy and maybe even with gratitude. Never by a family member who, more than others, might know that I care for them and that I truly want what is best for them, both now and eternally. Never by a friend who knew me before I followed the Lord. But occasionally by a friend or a social media connection who is grateful for a caution regarding a false teacher or a false teaching, or appreciates my concern and reassures me that they do know the truth from scripture and are wholeheartedly seeking to follow it.
But the vast majority of the time, when I am led to share a word of correction or admonishment or suggestion, the result is anything but positive. At best, the response is silence, the message is ignored, and perhaps I never hear from the person again. At worst, though in every way it seems that these words are for the person’s good, they hate them and will not hear them, and often hate me. I have heard quite a few times, “You have no right to judge me,” and, “You have no idea what’s in my heart,” and, “I listen to God, not to people’s opinions,” and even, “In the name of Jesus I bind the demon that’s possessing you.”
up next: Why, Lord? Part 3 ~ still learning ~
by Sydney Michalski