“A wise man, when evils are approaching, hides himself; but fools pass on and will be punished” (Prov. 27:12 LXX).
If you’ve read my book, Delivering Women from the Snares of Death, you either love it or you hate it. I have heard everything from “This is the best book I’ve ever read”, to “Go crawl in a hole and die.”
Now there are many people who call themselves Christians who serve their Christian community in one capacity or another and think that living the Christian life is both comfortable and safe. They sit back in their cozy armchairs as the perfect critics, giving criticism but never taking a stand that could put them at risk of receiving any. They avoid personal confrontations even when they know their brother or sister errs. Chances are, any drama that unfolds in their lives has little to do with spiritual matters, but has everything to do with the socio-political matters of the church body.
Such people don’t receive hate mail. You will not find them on the streets winning the souls of the lost. You will not find them on the front lines, waging war against powers and principalities. They shove disagreeable or threatening things under the carpet, preferring to live in a self-fashioned, impenetrable bubble where they feel most comfortable. When scriptural passages convince them of sin, they give them slight regard, preferring to read instead those that make them feel superior and self-justified. The errors of others, however, are mountains made out of mole hills, figments of their self-important imagination, or insignificant matters blown entirely out of proportion. To voice their displeasure over the failure of others to conform to their safe, little world, they complain using small, “concerned” voices laced with lamentation and grief over the “intolerance” of others.
But all behind closed doors.
All behind people’s backs.
All behind the meticulously-erected walls of their own self-righteousness.
All behind their carefully-constructed, unchallenged assumptions.
“Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you” (2 Pt. 2:13b).
By the grace of God, and with the utmost gratitude to Him, I state as a matter of fact that those people are not me and Peter. But they are the people who despise the likes of me and Peter. Jesus said to the seventy who went out in His Name, “he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me” (Lk. 10:16). Some of you might say that I am making a boast to equate myself with the seventy. Who am I to say such a thing? I’ll tell you who I am.
I am an imperfect vessel made up of flesh and blood, completely dependent on my Father which is in heaven. I am often my own worst critic, and am keenly aware of my own short-comings. What I do well is enabled by God, so the glory is His. When I fail, the fault is mine, and so is the shame. The forgiveness that I receive upon confession subsequently encourages me, but it has been earned by the Son of God, not by me. I recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from above, so how can I boast about that which I have received from Him? Paul said, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10a). So say I. I can do nothing without Christ, because I know that there is no confidence in the flesh (Jn. 15:5, Phil. 3:3).
So, where is my boast? It is not in myself. It is in the Lord. And my identity is also in Him. I am a daughter of the Living God. Who are you?
People have called me self-righteous because I seek the things of Christ without shame. People have called me legalistic because I make visible changes in my life that reflect my fear of God. People have called me dishonest because I protect the anonymity of my family. My detractors slander and despise that which God calls righteous in me. Some have chosen to dislike me because I am unafraid of them. I will not be bullied by flesh and blood because I fear God, who is not only able to take my life, but is also able to destroy both my soul and my body in hell.
Whom do you fear? Whom do you serve?
If you live for God, you will not sulk away cowed and abashed after receiving your first unkind or critical comment. You will seek solace in Christ, and be blessed for having a contrite and humble spirit. If you care for heavenly things more than worldly things, you will not shy away from speaking the truth, from defending the truth, and from confessing your faith verbally to all who will hear. If the plights of the fallen Christians and lost souls that surround you bother you none, you will remain hidden behind the closed doors of your safely guarded homes, convincing yourself that somebody else can take up your slack. Those types would ignore His call to labour in His Name and leave the battles to Him. Or, even worse, they would pay others to do it for them even though they are capable of doing it themselves, call it a “donation” and boast of their “charity”.
“And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). What kind of persecution are you suffering for the Name of the One who saved your soul from hell? Do you love Him enough to obey His commandments, as He has asked you to? Or, do you fit in just fine with the world, and call yourself its friend?
Those who love Christ with sincerity have courageously put themselves on the front lines for the sake of the lost, for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of their own souls. They receive little to no recognition or glory, little to no financial support or helping hands, but all sorts of ego-induced discrimination and abject criticism. All the cowards who call themselves “Christian” think they can do it better, and few hesitate to say so behind their carefully-constructed safe-houses. Petty revenges are common in the “church”, and are a sad commentary on the “Christians” who, professing themselves to be wise, are fools. They compare themselves to each other instead of to Christ.
A scathing on-line bombardment from an anonymous source.
A phone-call rant between everyone but you.
A slanderous complaint uttered above your head.
Being completely ignored.
Children seized by the authorities because your home is “bigoted”.
A promotion lost because you serve Christ first, then your boss.
That is what the fruitful Christians, the obedient Christians, the truly loving, Christ-centred individuals suffer for their efforts, which in my opinion, are not nearly as difficult as they could be here in North America. For the time being, we still have our lives, but increasingly, we have hate crimes perpetrated against us and diminished freedoms of speech and religion.
The hatred that the ungodly have for the righteous burns brighter.
Now one question you might ask is, “Didn’t you see this coming?” Of course I did. That’s why I used a pen name.