I was looking over a past conflict I had with someone a couple years ago. There were concerning issues I saw with their walk with Jesus, and I tried to encourage them to be wary of becoming stubborn in what they thought was right. Yeah, not something easy to say…let alone hear on the other side. It wasn’t taken well, understandably.
We are to be edifying and encouraging to each other. Encouragement doesn’t mean we always agree, but rather, we encourage each other with the truth! I wanted to help them seek Jesus.
One defense I received was (paraphrased), “You treat me like I’m a new Christian.”
I’m sharing this story not to point fingers. You see, this post isn’t about the person above because … I didn’t realize how much I shared the same mindset! I don’t like it when I feel people are treating me “like a new Christian,” either! A lot of the same things they did, I didn’t realize at the time, but I also was doing. The advice I gave them I NEEDED, TOO!
God has taught me a lot since I was 13 years old and continues to, but for YEARS I was still in bondage to sin. I had limits, blinders on, because of sin I allowed in my life. Judgment clouded my heart. Pride promised me that I should be recognized for what I felt and thought were right. I knew so much…and honestly wanted that to be validated. I didn’t want to focus on others and their words… not the way I should have.
Between 2018 and 2019 Jesus reminded me continually and often daily that “mature” Christians NEED TO UNDERSTAND AND DRINK THE MILK REPEATEDLY TO EAT THE MEAT! You cannot eat the meat of scripture unless you drink the milk. Meals…come with drinks.
What I thought I “knew” well, The word of God threw me for a loop. As if the topics on the page leaped up with the question, “Oh… have you thought about this?”
Twiddles thumbs. “Um…”Lifts up finger, “Ah…” sits back down. It was a complete sit yourself down, Job moment.
Salvation can be spoken of lightly, however, there is a depth to it. Faith can be spoken of lightly, however… there is a depth to it. I may know a lot about particular topics in scripture, but you know what, I think my blog shows how much I continue to learn and don’t really know. God keeps adding new knowledge to topics I thought I had “leveled up” from, and shame on me for thinking there was a limit to knowledge on what He wants me to understand in His word. As if I “took a class” on the Bible and determined, “Yep, I did it, Lord. See what I know! I don’t need to know anything else about this topic. Let’s move on.” Oh, that pride… and I thought I was being humble at the time. Ouch!
How dare I act arrogant and think…that something related to God’s truth…I DIDN’T NEED TO LEARN MORE OF! SHAME ON ME!
How quick have I been to others to defend my thoughts and actions… to clear my name? I didn’t pray over what I was told. I didn’t seek scripture as help. I just…took it up into my own control and hands. I played judgment on myself, acted like God, and deemed myself “good” while everyone else was wrong.
Be wary Christian blogger… this temptation can happen a lot in our digital comments and responses!
When we think we know everything there is to God’s word and truth… we haven’t even touched the beginning. We are a defiant toddler who thinks we can touch the burner and not get burned.
I GOT BURNED! Jesus humbled me. I couldn’t bring up this topic until two years later because I knew my heart needed help. There were things people said to me in these two years, at first, I was like, NAH!
But you know, like I said, I didn’t take their concerns to the Lord. In fact, sometimes, months later, I looked back on what was said…and realized they were right! There were things I was struggling with that other people pointed out I didn’t want to admit because I was convinced, by my own pride, they were wrong. They didn’t see my side, how dare they! Me. Me. Me.
There were some concerns or disagreements I’ve had in the past God changed my mind on later. I could understand the other side better only after God humbled me. All the more reason I really need to put everything in light of scripture.
Some Questions I’ve Learned/Working On To Ask Myself When Someone Tells Me Something I Don’t Want To Hear:
- Am I responding in a Christlike manner?
- Am I upset because someone attacked me and my pride/ego is wounded? Just because someone says something I do not like does not give me a right to justify thinking they don’t have the fruit of the Spirit. The true body of Christ edifies each other!
- Is there any truth?
- What does scripture say?
- Even if the other party might be wrong, how can I pray for them?
- Did I seek Jesus before responding?
- Are any seeds of pride or bitterness being sown in my heart? Do I need to surrender them to Jesus?
We need to be careful that we are not putting limits on anything the Lord can teach us about. We need to be careful that we are not puffed up with pride that with one poke our inflatable jacket sends us flying around the room.
This includes not just our outward reaction to others…but what we harbor in our mind, heart, and soul. Just because we do not “say” something in response…doesn’t mean we aren’t “saying” something in response within our soul, mind, and heart.
We still need to be edifying and encouraging. However, we also need to understand we may need to approach topics or people differently. Be willing to be rejected, but also be willing to understand we may have things we also need to work on. Maybe, the Lord will use our refinement as an example. I hope so.
The person I mentioned doesn’t have a walk with Christ now. I still don’t know if my reaching out was helpful at all or not, even after it was mended; if any seeds got planted, but I can say, God taught me a lot of things I needed to work on.
Speaking in love is difficult. Being humble is difficult, especially when we think we are. Pride is so sneaky and its ability to blend in is amazing! Be willing to seek forgiveness. Be willing to admit mistakes.
Be willing for the Lord to change you.
May the Lord keep changing me, too.
(NASB) 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”
(NASB) Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Have you ever had someone say something you were upset with but God later showed you there was truth in their words?
Monthly Scripture- (NIV) Psalm 85:01, “You, LORD, showed favor to Your land; You restored the fortunes of Jacob.”
Community Prayer Requests | January ’20– Join us in requesting prayer, praying for each other and lifting each other up.
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath