How do we, as Christians, disagree with another person or teacher in Jesus Christ without being disagreeable? This was my question to Holy Spirit over the last few mornings and He’s given me answers that are helpful to me and quite simple. I know it gives me peace and I pray you find it useful as well.
When the information shared is a personal testimony, pray for the person faithfully and pray the Father would bring people around the individual to disciple them and teach them the Word. If they have a degree of fame, it’s extremely important, because the vultures will come in attempting to “profit”. Satan will not turn loose without a fight and although he can’t determine a person’s ultimate destiny, he can cripple their testimony and hinder their effectiveness for the Kingdom. You do not want to be on his team in that or any endeavor. If the profession of faith is insincere, allow God to deal with it.
Your response will likely make little or no difference to the famed individual, but what about those who are “considering Christ” on the sidelines of a forum you’re in? Based on an unkind response you make about an individual they may look up to, they decide to keep on walking and not risk putting themselves out there. Their thinking, whether correct or not, might go something like this . . . “Wow, if he or she isn’t good enough, I’m certainly not.” Remember, you likely don’t have access to the individual you have a question about to begin with . . . it’s those who are reading and hearing, considering Christ, who will be helped or harmed by your response.
We forget, if we’ve walked with Jesus for a time, how intimidating it can be when you are a new baby and are confronted with questions you don’t have answers for. Even worse, you think you do and you spout off with something you were taught or heard that’s totally wrong, it’s happened to all of us at some point. This is true for every New Believer and even more urgent for those with a measure of fame. After all, at this point all they’ve agreed and claim to know is, “I Believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God and His Death, Burial and Resurrection and so I’m saved and Have Eternal Life” . . . PRAY!
If you have a genuine concern about the authenticity of their faith (that’s a scary plank to walk), after prayer and only if you feel led to do so by Holy Spirit. . . speak your opinion in love, making it clear it’s your opinion and only God has all knowledge. If you feel caution is in order, counsel caution in kindness and with specificity . . . not dredging up behavior or statements before their conversion. I shudder to think of the things I said and did before I came to Christ and even when I had fallen away for a time. I certainly wouldn’t do those things now and it also took me some time to clean out those weeds and bad habits out of my life. I’m still working on it over 60 years later. Don’t condemn people for leftover bad fruit . . . wait and see if new fruit takes it place.
Questionable Teaching . . . if you perceive the teaching from another Brother or Sister is incorrect . . . Pray . . . and when or if given release by Holy Spirit . . . approach them privately in kindness and a spirit of Love! If the issue is one of eternal import, stand your ground and do your very best to be persuasive in the Spirit Jesus taught . . . in love. Whether of eternal significance or an interpretation of prophecy, either agree or agree to disagree agreeably without personal animus, pride, anger, control, dissensions or divisions creeping in for these are the works of the flesh.
If the issue you are dealing with is a teaching from a well-known person within the Christian Community, yet you realize what they’re teaching is confusing at best and unscriptural at worst . . . Pray! If you have researched the Word and feel led by Holy Spirit, not a personal prideful spirit, offer a counter explanation without Rancor, Pride or Judgementalism about the teaching in the forum in which it is being offered. Leave the personal commentary out if you can’t genuinely say something nice. Make your comments Absolutely without personal accusation or offering your own judgement about someone’s Eternal Life or walk with God.
Perhaps you might consider something like this . . .
My concern is _____ (you fill in the blanks), this specific teaching. Scripture says this (quote the passage and the reference) yet the teaching doesn’t agree with the passages. I’ve gone back through them to be certain I’ve understood thoroughly what has been said and what Scripture teaches and what I find is this __________ in these passages _______. You might want to take a look again for yourself, I think you’ll be enlightened.
Discernment is first knowing the Word, researching the scriptures for yourself and comparing what is being taught directly to the Word of God. Once you’ve done your research, then ask Holy Spirit with a seeking heart to open your eyes anew to a clear understanding of the passage . . . Ask Him to show you truth . . . He will lead you into all truth. This is the process of discernment and practice makes you better, but not perfect in this life. We all have blind spots of our own making and areas in which we refuse to listen to anyone about, including Holy Spirit. We’re being transformed by the Washing of the Water of the Word, but He’s not done with us yet.
We have individual responsibility for what we believe, whether we realize it or not. We must at all times do our very best to understand the Word and assume responsibility for our own understanding, not simply accepting what someone says, no matter their reputation. We must not be swayed by personality, length of service, popularity or how a teaching or individual makes us “feel”. Emotions can be untrustworthy at times and Satan is a past master at utilizing emotion to rope people into falsehood. Check and re-check the Scripture and listen to Holy Spirit. Loyalty to the Word of God must always trump any individual’s reputation as well as our personal feelings about the messenger, whether good or bad. We can all learn from every individual we encounter, even if the lesson we learn is never to behave in such a manner. Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones!
Every Believer is responsible for remaining on the Narrow Path Jesus and the Disciples outlined in the Scriptures. First, we come to faith by The Gospel to receive Eternal Life by Believing in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and Resurrection. Secondly, we should continue on the path in discipleship and sanctification. It is this second portion of our walk where we gain or lose blessings in this life and rewards in Eternity. It is wonderful to listen to and be instructed by Pastors, Teachers, Prophets and Evangelists for they are gifts to the Body. However, they are human beings just as we are and Holy Spirit resides in us just as he does in them and He Alone is the Source of All Wisdom in our world today.
How do I “check myself” to be certain I’m responding in a Godly way to others within and without the Body of Christ? First, look inside yourself. What am I thinking, how am I feeling – introspection at this point will tell you much. Is your own internal response evidencing the Fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control? If not and you’re just really angry and want to strangle people, you’re likely exhibiting the Fruit of the Flesh. I know all about the Righteous Anger argument, but be careful with that one, it’s a slippery slope. Yes, Jesus could do it but you’re not Him and neither am I. Stop what you are doing and seek the Father until you can bring yourself into agreement with His Opinion and the correct way to express it, exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit . . . then respond.
This is not encouragement to accept or condone anything unscriptural and we will likely never agree with everyone on what is scriptural in this lifetime. Nonetheless, you are responsible for Truth and the Word of God in your own life and how you communicate with others both in and out of the Body. No other Brother, Sister, Pastor, Teacher or Prophet will stand with you at the Judgement Seat of Christ to determine your rewards . . . yes the Bible is replete with teachings of eternal rewards.
Love and be kind to your Brothers and Sisters, we’ll be together for Eternity.
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
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