Lesson 7 -- fourth quarter 1996
October 13, 1996
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
What is the most difficult opposition to face up to?
Does standing for the truth always mean confrontation?
Standing for the truth against error--we all get opportunities to do this. I wonder how many we have missed. Missed them because we didn't catch on the opportunities had presented themselves. Missed them because of our comfort in the status quo of our personal relationships.
One of the most difficult oppositions to face up to is the unrecognized opposition. After all, how can we face up to it when we don't even recognize it! This difficulty results from a poor or tenuous acquaintance with the truth. If I do not recognize truth, how shall I recognize its opposition?! Therefore, if I would faithfully stand for truth against error I must daily knock at Truth's gates. I must saturate myself with truth so that I can recognize error and stand against it.
Another opposition difficult to face up to is the familiar opposition. Ah, yes! This opposition falls upon us from those nearest to us. We find ourselves face to face with a traumatic choice--truth or friendship. As humans we value our relationships very highly, and that is necessary and admirable. However, we must never walk on in our relationships if that means walking away from truth.
Recently I've had some very strong differences of opinion with some folks. Most of these encounters were over issues of doctrine, practice and values. So far, none of these encounters have yielded individuals who have seen in the Scriptures the error of their ways. So what shall I do? How long shall I persist?
"And the prophet Jeremiah went his way." Did you notice that?! Jeremiah withstood Hananiah to his face, publicly. Then Jeremiah had Hananiah "refute" practically everything he had said, publicly. In fact, Hananiah took Jeremiah's object lesson and used it as an object lesson to contradict Jeremiah. Jeremiah's reaction? He went his way.
Did Jeremiah leave because he was ashamed? No. Did Jeremiah leave because Hananiah had bested him? No. Did Jeremiah leave because Hananiah had shown him to be in error? No. Jeremiah left because he had delivered his message. Jeremiah left because there was nothing further to be gained with continued debate and further words. That took a lot of courage and faith in God. That took a lot of objectivity.
God calls on us to confront error with truth. God also wants us to be willing to lose face in the process. He doesn't call on us to win arguments nor does He expect us to convince people. He simply wants us to know the truth, live the truth and present the truth.
One of our big problems manifests itself when we want the opposition to recognize us for what we are--right! Our personal pride wants to hang on to our message like a leech. That being the case, we hate to go our way after "failing" to convince someone. We don't like the feeling of defeat that afflicts us so readily in such cases.
Standing for truth does not always mean defeating the error in the immediate circumstance. Standing for truth simply means standing on truth against error. May the Lord give us the wisdom and perception we need to know when to go our way.
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