The battle that began with murderous rampage a week ago continues to rage in South Carolina. The Enemy, infuriated with the outpouring of forgiveness and love, switched tactics. Diverting attention from good, he is seeking to create disunity with slander and half-truths. Satan desires the controversy around the Confederate Flag to accomplish what the killings did not. God forbid that the church fall prey to his devices.
Opinions and assumptions precede accusations, blame-setting and criticism. Controversies—personal and national—happen because individuals feel justified and right in demanding that others accept their view of truth. Insisting on another heeding our assessment looks nothing like Jesus.
Those who follow Christ have a unique challenge: stand for Truth while surrendering to the will of God. Jesus is the only the One who did it perfectly. Slander, misunderstanding, half-truths and bold-faced lies never disrupted Christ’s confidence in the completion of God’s perfect plan.
Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7
Standing firm without demanding allegiance to oneself is a trial of our faith. Sliding into words of defamation feels right and justified when one is defending truth. The truth is that factual statements that accuse another bring us into partnership with the Devil. (Revelation 12:10)
Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil; that work began with words of slander. The work of the devil is to steal, kill and destroy. Words of accusation do exactly that. They tear down individuals; they rip out hope. They instill doubt about the power and work of God in our lives. They have no place in the mouths of Jesus’ disciples.
God does not ask us to be oblivious to truth—He allows us to see situations and be the catalyst for change; that change begins in us. When the words or actions of another bring you pain or frustration, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the same root sin looks like in you. Ask to see the truth of the accusation in your life—and press in to understand how Jesus is the answer to that accusation. Sin is the great leveler—it brings us to unity through thankfulness for the work of Christ.
Our humility is the doorway for the Holy Spirit to pour through us and bring healing far deeper than we imagine. The disciple Judas shows us the danger of marching forward on our assumptions. Just before Judas made the choice to betray Jesus, he joined with the other disciples in accusing a worshipper of Christ as wasteful. Jesus praised her and chastised the disciples. Evidently all but Judas turned from their opinion. Judas preferred his own assessment–and that furthered the plans of the devil.
At the last supper, Jesus spoke about the coming betrayal of ALL the disciples. “The one who dipped his hand with me will betray me.” Yes, Judas committed the ultimate betrayal but the words speak a broader truth: All betray Jesus at some point. The difference is the CHOICE of surrender.
Where do you need to follow Jesus and say to the Father, “YOUR will be done,” instead of following Judas and saying, “MY way be done?”