Still, I got an email today from a strong-in-the-Lord brother who has been confronting people who use the Bible and religion to misrepresent Jesus and hurt other people. He requested prayer and healing over that little bit of nagging resentment we all struggle against whenever we've been confronted by someone else's insistence upon being evil, low, divisive, hurtful, etc. And for all of us, of course, sometimes that "little bit of nagging resentment" turns into an ocean of return-hate. What do we do about any of that?
Here's part of my answer to our brother (the parts that aren't personal in any way), listing my thoughts this morning. What are your thoughts on this issue? What are some other ways you deal with these kinds of things?
We ALL have to struggle with these things now and again, and it gets easier as we get more practice seeing these things Jesus' way. Here are my suggestions of things to consider when struggling with this temptation to be angry, resentful, or bitter towards someone who truly does deserve our anger, resentment, and bitterness according to the world and our flesh!Where does the Holy Spirit lead your thoughts, today?
* Corrie ten Boom: she went thru a Nazi death camp and lost almost her entire family (including a sister who was with her in the camp), and had to struggle a lot to over come anger and hate during and after the war. Her books and MP3s of her talks can be very inspiring and healing, and always point us to the fact that even when dealing with evil it's only through Jesus that we can forgive and see things His way.
* Paul of Tarsus: consider who Paul was, and the incredible damage he did to people's lives, before he was confronted by Jesus. Consider that many others just like him moved among God's people in those days, and that most never turned from their evil - but that any Jesus-followers who turned away from hope that Paul and those like him could still also repent of their religiousity and surrender their hearts to Jesus were just wrong. Consider also that no follower of Jesus EVER did or could turn Paul's heart to repentance and hope in the true Lord - Jesus Christ Himself alone could do that. Such matters require our humility, our willingness to admit that only the Lord heals and calls - not us. So we do what we're called to do, and leave the results to the Lord.
* The best use of your efforts: I used to debate "Christians" all the time who had religious demons of hate and division in their hearts, thinking perhaps I could help them see a better light -- that is, until once when God told me, "If they don't listen to Me, why would they listen to you?" Truly, if God isn't at work on and in their hearts, there's no hope whatsoever that anything you can say or do will accomplish what they won't let God do. So what's the better perspective? This: what about all those people on the site (or in your local life) that are silently reading (or seeing/hearing) what you're saying? Never forget that for every person who's wanting to debate just to exercise their own demons and wear you out and get you into their world of anger and evil - there may be another person, or 100 other people, or a thousand, or more, whose hearts just might be hungry for a more true way of seeing Jesus and understanding God's way. For myself, I speak or deal publicly with evil-choosers only when doing so might be of some benefit to those who may currently be within the realm of evil but wanting out (in a small or large way). And in those times, even as I "speak" to the evil-chooser, I actually direct all my attention and efforts and words to the rest of the crowd. We're called to be wise stewards, not casting our pearls of Jesus-wisdom before spiritual-swine or spending our Holy-Spirit-energy on evil-choosing-dogs.
* What the New Testament tells us: what does the NT tell us to do with "Christians" who cause hurt, bad feelings, and teach wrong things? It tells us to try a few times to explain how they're wrong, but if they persist, we are told to remove our attention and lives from the dark cloud of their attention and lives. We forgive them, again and again - yes. But according to the NT we also recognize the truth of the damage they can and do cause, and we do not get caught up in their spiritual ugliness by trying to get them out of it (which requires God to open their hearts and minds).
* God's plan: Finally, ponder things like this in God's Bigger Picture. Jesus told us that God doesn't let His angels just go out and destroy the evil people we see around us, because if He did some good people would be destroyed, as well - and all of the Bible tells us that God's not willing to lose even one person who will turn from world-evil to Jesus-good. That person in your life who's being so wrong today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and so on) MIGHT just eventually find the real Jesus, confronting him/her on the road to doing even more wrong, and be set right. Without that willingness to understand what's happening in the world from God's perspective, it's just too easy to end up bitter or angry, but also hopeless, out of faith, and so on.
This article written by Lynne at No Junk. Just Jesus. You can contact Lynne at NoJunkJustJesus@gmail.com.