The other day we heard an awful rumor that is being circulated about us. There wasn’t even a bit of truth to it, but it hurt nonetheless. Where do people come up with this stuff?
This reminded me of a time, many years ago now, when something had happened to me and, while tempted to respond in the wrong way, I had been rather proud of myself for handling it in a way that I thought truly honored God. I remember this specifically because I didn’t (and still don’t!) always respond this way. A month or so later, I found out that the person whom I thought I had treated so kindly and respectfully had utterly misrepresented–and even lied–about my response to his co-workers. I can’t even imagine what would cause someone to do that. But it happens to all of us at one time or another.
And the thing is we all judge each other on these things. We talk about how we shouldn’t judge each other and yet we all are tempted to do it. We will hear someone talk about someone else and we will make a judgment on that person, even though we may have never met them. Or, even more hurtful, we will hear something about someone we know and, instead of talking with them about what we have heard, we will simply start avoiding them. In essence, we end the relationship over something we don’t even know to be true. This may be one of the saddest things that happens to any relationship.
This is really the same thing that happens here with this blog. People who don’t know me–and some who do–judge me because they don’t like the things I write. And so I am labeled things like “harsh” or “negative”. I do know this and I am slowly learning to be okay with this. Every now and again I hear something that is being said behind my back and so it is a constant struggle but I do understand that it is impossible to have a blog that tackles popular opinion–especially popular “Christian” opinion– and not expect kickback. But I also know that there are those of you that appreciate what I write and I am so thankful that many of you let me know that. But, every now and again, I like to clear up some things with those who don’t appreciate what I write (but read the blog, anyway) and also to touch base with those of you who are my loyal readers. I think sometimes it is important to share some of my heart and to give a glimpse of who I really am apart from my posts.
And so today I will depart from my normal type of post and be a bit transparent.
First, I want you to know that I am not one of those bloggers who takes great joy in writing things that people don’t like. I don’t relish conflict and I don’t like to debate. But, for whatever reason, this is where God has me. And every single time I begin to think it is time to stop writing here, one of you sends an email thanking me or walks up to me and says how much you appreciate the blog. And so this is where I am for now–doing my little bit to further God’s Kingdom and to point people to God’s Word here in this corner of the internet called Growing4Life.
I also want you to know that I have no illusions that I am somehow loftier than anyone else. God has given me a gift to write. That’s it. I am not better than anyone else in any way. Have you ever wondered if I live out all of these things I write 100% of the time? There is an easy answer to this. NO. No, I do not. I wish I did. I wish I could. And have you ever wondered if my family has struggles like yours? Relationship problems, selfish wills, anger issues? Why, yes. Yes, we do. I am no different than any other sinner saved by grace and we are no different than any other Christian family anywhere else. I am not even close to perfect (the more I grow spiritually, the more clearly I realize how far I still have to go) and neither is my family.
I also don’t know the Word as well as I wish I did. I am working on this and it is much easier now that I have some time on my hands that wasn’t available to me when I was raising kids. But knowing the Bible takes time and I am thankful for godly people in my life whom I trust and can call upon when I stumble upon something I don’t understand or receive a question from one of my readers that I need help with.
I write all of this because sometimes it is hard to point people to God’s Word and what it says when it is so clear that I am so far from perfect. But if we only learned from perfect people, well, then, we’d never learn at all, would we? God–thankfully–uses weak and imperfect people to reach, help, and grow others. Aren’t you glad? This means that He can use any of us.
For some reason I still don’t really understand, God has given me this small platform here at Growing4Life. I need you to know that I have only one desire and that is that He uses this for His glory. It is my prayer that I can shine the bright light of God’s Word amidst the overwhelming darkness in this world–but particularly in the deepening twilight that is the mainstream church. Unbelievably, the church is growing darker at an astonishing pace while still claiming to be the light. The truth of God’s Word has always been unpopular, but perhaps never so unpopular as right now.
While I do hope that I am drawing my readers to God and His Word, God has also been using this blog to teach me some things. Two, in particular, come to mind, and I’d like to share them with you.
1. I can’t change your mind. When I think of the arguments and debates I used to have with people, it saddens me. What a waste of time. I have lost all taste for that as God has graciously taught me that He is the one that must work in the heart. He uses people like you and me for His purposes and to help people along, but I can’t change a heart. This is a hard lesson to learn for someone who has a love for the truth and who wants everyone else to have that same love. But I realize now that I can talk non-stop to someone for two years and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference unless God is at work (John 6:44; I Corinthians 10:10-16; Ephesians 1). I think I finally understand this. And that leads to my second lesson…
2. My opinion is irrelevant. As I wrote the paragraph above I could almost hear some of you thinking, “Well, what gives you the right to determine what is true?” So I want you to understand that God has taught me that my opinion means nothing. I do my best to share principles and lessons from God’s Word because I realize that this is truly the only thing that matters. Yes, people have different interpretations of the Bible but there is only one right interpretation. As John MacArthur says, “We can both be wrong, or you can be right and I can be wrong, or I can be right and you can be wrong, but we can’t both be right.” It is my greatest desire to share God’s Word in the right way. But I encourage you–even beg you–to dig in and study for yourself. Biblical illiteracy is perhaps the greatest reason the church is in such a terrible state. But we can change that–at least for ourselves and for our families. I hope that this blog is an encouragement to you but it is not a replacement for thorough study of the Word. Several months ago, someone who is very dear to me asked the question, “why did God make this issue of tongues so confusing?” And then, a few weeks ago, after really digging into the Word, she told me this: “I realize that it isn’t so confusing, after all. If you study your Bible it really becomes clear.” And so do your own digging. God is so faithful and He will lead you to the truth if you are searching for it. I know this from my own personal experience and from those of you who have shared with me how God led you out of the NAR and charismatic movements through His Word.
And so that’s what I wanted to share today. It’s very different than my usual post. But I hope that it has given you a bit of insight into me and why I write what I write. I have been so blessed by so many of you. Some of you have shared your heart with me through emails or comments on Facebook and those little notes are such encouraging treasures to me. But my greatest prayer is that God is using me to further His Kingdom, for it is His approval that matters most to me.
I was watching an old movie yesterday and there was a line in there that really hit home–
“If you stand up for the truth you are going to ruffle some feathers and you are going to experience some pain from those who don’t want the truth.”
Yes, I have found this to be oh, so true. But it is what all believers are called to do. I hope that through my posts and how I live my life, I am encouraging others to stand for the truth.