I’ve reposted this article that was originally posted on the 6th of January, 2020, this morning (Sunday – 28 March 2021) because I was reminded of it by our Lord today. Actually the comments are much better than the article, especially the comments added by Sue Love. Exchanges between Christians can be a delicate endeavour and as you will see with the comments exchanged between Sue and myself, the written word is not always the easiest medium to use when conveying our thoughts to one another. The Lord has an interesting way of bringing to our attention, what we may have done to others, when it is done back to us.
Our words and actions can hurt others, even when we do not intentionally mean them to do so and we really need to be mindful of this, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Note what I say in this article and especially note how Sue graciously corrects me. As I look back in hindsight, this is a post that I wish I hadn’t written in the manner in which I wrote it. Sometimes it is not only what you say or don’t say, but also, how you say it, that matters. I will include the relevant comments at the bottom of this reposted article.
Those of you who aren’t old enough to remember what a broken record would do when it was broken, might miss the meaning of this phrase. When records got scratched, sometimes they would stop where they were playing and just go back to the beginning of the song and start all over again. So what you would have is the same uncompleted song being played over and over again. That which was originally meant to bring appreciation, ended up being a source of frustration and annoyance.
There is a need to pursue balance, to not always be focused on one particular thing or aspect. Even with following Jesus, this is true. If I focus only on one aspect of Jesus and overlook the fullness of Christ, all that He is, I only see one part of who Jesus is.
I’ve learned to be leary of those who focus their message entirely on identifying, over and over again, what isn’t correct and what it should be. It’s not that identifying what isn’t correct isn’t important or necessary, it surely is, but that is not the whole picture, that is not the whole message. When negativity is continually reinforced, over and over again, and positivity is also not reinforced, a coldness moves in and the fruit of the Spirit becomes increasingly scarce.
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
There are some web ministries that devote themselves entirely to pointing out false teachers and doctrines. I personally have chosen not to do that because of what I see it can cause. There can be a distinct persona that manifests itself, in some, especially over time. There’s an “us and them” mentality that appears and the “us and them” quickly becomes “what I’m doing right and what they are doing wrong”. I’ve deliberately learned to avoid some of these sites because God’s Spirit within me witnesses to the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is just not there. The facts may indeed be factual but somewhere along the line they have moved away from the balance, which includes speaking in love, that is also necessary.
That “balance” can be hard to define and may not be the same for everyone. Even that “understanding” needs to be part of the balance. I obviously can’t speak for anyone else and can only speak for myself. Indeed, my “balance” may be different from yours.
I do know that all Christians are not at the same level of Biblical understanding (myself included). I do know that all Christians have different levels of maturity (myself included). I also know that God in His Word, asks me to take that into consideration and cut those who are weaker in faith some slack.
Romans 14:1-3 NASB “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.”
Note that we’re talking about matters of conscience here and not doctrines.
Navigating the obstacles on the Christian path can be tricky and requires some flexibility and sensitivity. I may lean towards Progressive Creationism and another believer may lean toward Evolutionary Creationism or Young Earth Creationism, but that does not mean that we have to be totally opposed to one another.
There is a distinct difference between stating your case and demeaning the intelligence of another individual who holds an opinion that differs from our own. And this list of “sensitive” subjects is not short.
Finding this “balance” is not easy. Differences of opinion can often involve our emotions and we know how easily emotions can become detrimental. Even “emotions” can be an example of finding a balance. Are all emotions that we have necessarily bad? No they are not, Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and the believers wept over Paul when they knew they would not see him again (Acts 20:37). Our emotions can be a result of our faith and at the same time, they can be a result of our lack of faith, such as fear when Peter denied knowing Jesus (Luke 22:54-62).
The general principle that I try to follow, and I admit with “limited” success, is to lift my brothers and sisters in the Lord up, which I believe is one of our responsibilities.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NASB “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
I’ll be candid with you, I haven’t got the scope of balancing all that I encounter within my walk with Jesus nailed down. I’ve seen where my emotions got involved and I have had to apologize. I’ve also seen where my “balance” has been imposed upon others and the Lord has seen fit to correct me.
I’m thinking that the “Golden Rule” spoken by Jesus is indicative of the balance we are to continually seek.
Matthew 7:12 NASB “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
I’m thinking that “everything” is pretty inclusive.
UPDATE: If you read through the comments on this particular post you will see some dialogue between Sue Love and myself. Sue raised some valid points and I’m thinking I could have done a better job in differentiating between what I consider is a ministry that does a good job of focusing on warning Christians about false teachers, false doctrines and watered down Christianity and other web ministries that attempt to do the same thing but do so in a manner that leaves a lot to be desired. I’m not really keen on providing specific links as examples but I’m hopeful that the essence between the two different approaches is understood. In one of the first comments on this post, Beverly also brought the same point to my attention. The oversight was on my part and I should have been more aware of the requirement to provide clarification of the difference between necessary repetition and the manner in which that repetition is presented. The written word is not always an easy medium to use, to effectively convey precisely what one meant to say. I thank you for your patience.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
Bruce, We the body of Christ are made up of various parts and we don’t all have the same function. We all have different gifts and different ministries. Much like a doctor might pick a specialty to focus on, God has chosen each one of us for a particular specialty, so to speak, which is our part in the body, whether a hand, a foot, etc.
From my observations of your blog, you appear to focus primarily (though not exclusively) on what I think is called “Apologetics.” That is your specialty. It isn’t all you do, but that does seem to be to be your primary focus, from what I understand, but I could be wrong.
There are people, I believe, who God has called specifically to expose false teachers and false teaching, and this is critical in our day and age, because there are so many false teachers and false teachings, and so many, many people are being led astray by these wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is their specialty God has them focusing on, for it takes a great deal of time and research to do what they do to make certain they are speaking the truth in love, and that they are not just listening to hearsay. They have to be able to support their claims factually.
For me, my “specialty” is exposing the cheap grace gospel and teaching the true gospel message, and this is what the Lord has me primarily focusing on, at least in recent years, but not to the exclusion of anything else. But, it could appear to some people as a broken record, for it does keep getting repeated over and over again.
But, you know what? I am just teaching the scriptures, and they keep giving the same message over and over and over again which is that we need to turn away from our sins, be changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that we need to walk in obedience to our Lord, daily, in practice, and that we are to no longer walk in sin. It is in the Old Testament, and it is in the New Testament. And, there are many warnings to the church against falling away and against false teachers and false teaching and against apathy, and against falling prey to deception, etc. And, the church is continually being challenged to forsake sins daily and to walk in holiness and righteousness, living lives which are pleasing to God. So, the scriptures are a broken record.
So, just saying that God has called us all differently, and we each have our part, and all the parts are necessary. You know the people accused Jeremiah of being negative all the time, too, for he had to give out messages of judgment and confrontations to people regarding their sins and he had to warn them and rebuke them and call them to repentance, and the people thought he was just negative all the time. But, that is what God had for him to do, and he accepted that call, although he didn’t always like it.
And, I suspect that some of the people who have been called to expose false teaching and false prophets are NOT doing so because they are just negative people who enjoy doing what they are doing. I suspect that at least some of them are doing what they are doing because God has called them to that specific ministry. It is certainly why I do what I do every day. I don’t choose what I am going to write each day. God chooses! And, I just obey him and do what he says, even if some people might think I am just negative all the time, and even if they may think I am a broken record. And, I am not assuming here that you are in any way speaking about me in this, so please don’t go there. I am just saying God has made us all different and he has gifted us all differently and we are not all the same part of the body, but we are all necessary.
First off, I had a sincere heart searching prayer before beginning to respond to you because as I read your comment, even though you indicated you had not assumed I was addressing this particular post to you, you did make some direct connections to it, which meant, to me, that you took at least some of it, personally.
I don’t disagree with anything that you have said and if you recall, I have actually commended you in the past for being able to do what you do. This post was not about you or your ministry. I actually had a couple of other web ministries in mind but I am not going to name them. I personally would like to name them but I don’t think God wants me to do that. There are ministries that are focused on identifying false prophets and teachers and they do it very well. I could name those too. But there are also some who do not do it well, there is a distinct coldness in their approach that truly bothers me. I avoid them, even as source material, because of the tone that is continually prevalent. And these web ministries aren’t just about false teachers etc, there are some that also focus on their particular perspective of the Church and other aspects of Christianity, and in their process of their witness, exclude all others.
I actually thought of you when I was writing that article, I mentioned how God had corrected me when I had incorrectly thought that my “balance” should be everyone’s balance. That correction He gave me had to do with you and your ministry and I’ve already indicated that to you previously. I can understand why you said what you have said in your comment. That was my shortfall, not yours, I should have explained it better in my post. Sometimes it is very difficult to cover every aspect of a given topic and in this particular post I could have done better. You definitely fulfill your ministry very well and I acknowledge that it is not only necessary but also required. That was what God corrected me about, with regard to you personally, and your ministry.
I agree with you Sue, but I am also aware that your calling is not my calling, just like mine is not yours. You will note that I frequently click on “like” on a number of your articles. I don’t do that lightly. When the meat of God’s Word that you present is sound (from my understanding), which is NOT the end all in the approval process, I want you to know that. There may be some things that we see from different perspectives but I have no qualms about the vast majority of what you say. Matter of fact, thanks to you, I now ensure that I include that obedience is not optional. I always believed that but I see the value and necessity of saying it, over and over again, thanks to you.
I would ask you to forgive me for my oversight in not stating what I said better than I did and hope you can believe me when I say that you were not the focus of that post.
Love in Christ,
Bruce, I believe very much that the ministry God has given to me was not your focus. That is why I said don’t go there. I was noting the ministry God gave to me only as one example of how what you said could be taken as a “broken record” and could be misconstrued as “negative” and not well-balanced.
For, I know the types of ministries of which you speak, and I am certain that there are good ones and bad ones. I happen to like Justin Peters. He is very biblical in his approach. I have watched several of his videos and thought they were well done. He appears to be a humble man who is sincere in his approach of exposing the lies and then counteracting the lies with the truth. Yet, I have read some others that were just horrible, so I totally get that.
But, yes, you could have done a better job of relaying your message in a way that would have made those distinctions more clear. So, I agree with you on that. 🙂 We all live and learn, don’t we?
So, no need to apologize to me for anything. But, maybe you could write something as an addendum to your present article which would help clarify your intent in a better way. Not one of us communicates perfectly all the time. So, we all need to be willing to at least listen to others, which you have done here, and to at least consider their thoughts, which you have also done with me here, and then if the Lord should lead, we need to be willing to admit when we didn’t communicate as well as we could have, which you have also done with me here. So, thank you!
Thanks Sue, that’s a good idea, I will add an update at the bottom. God’s grace and blessings to you and yours as always.
Bruce, thank you. And, the same to you.