No Place for That

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by Suzanne D. Williams

Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word. (1Ki 18:21 CSB)

I watched people, Christians, on Twitter argue over an issue in the church and marveled. Have they not read their Bible? Both the issue of the argument and the fact they were having one seemed settled to me.

Let me state this up front:  God will never endorse your opinion. On anything. Opinions are fickle. They lie to you. God made this clear in Proverbs.

Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. (Pr 3:5 TPT)

What you think about anything doesn’t matter one bit. There is no holiness, no humbleness, found in forcing others to hear how you feelIt is always self-centered and will lead you away from God’s plans for your future. Plus, it causes strife, which God is against 100%. (Jas 3:16) 

 The church was warned about taking offenseJesus said:  It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” (Lk 17:1 NKJV) Another translation says it this way:  Occasions for stumbling are bound to come.” (NRSV)

You will have an opportunity to dislike what someone says, to get angry about it anhave your sayBut Jesus warns us there is a grave consequence to taking offense. Additionally, the apostle Paul says that voicing your offended opinion will cause people to turn away from God.

It’s high time that you welcome all people weak in the faith without debating and disputing their opinions … We must resolve never to judge others and never to place an obstacle or impediment in their paths that could cause them to trip and fall. (Rm 14:1, 13 VOICE)

In this case, it was an argument about food, causing the problem.

What we say has eternal consequences. Our words create life, or they endorse death. (Mt 12:37; Jas 3:5We must temper our response to reflect God’s grace or decide to say NOTHING AT ALL. Jesus understood this. Faced with unjust accusationsHe chose silence. (Mk 15:5) He’d cursed the fig tree and watched it die, after all. He knew, one wrong word in that fateful moment, and He’d undo everything. (Mk 11:14)

How are we to act any different from Him? The Holy Spirit will never prompt you to hurt someone else, no matter how wrong they are. He will not endorse arguments, especially within the church. You can’t talk bad about fellow churchgoers, about Christian song artists, or preachers you dislike. In fact, stating your negative opinion is worse than what you’re accusing the speaker of because that man or woman of God is anointed into leadership.

Which brings me to comments about government, whether its church government, state or national government, elected leaders, or honoring the flag and the national anthem. I say this all the time, but God says to pray for governments, to pray for all men, and to do good to your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you(1Ti 2:1-2; Lk 6:27; Mt 5:44) Jesus said to give to Caesar what belonged to Caesar. (Mt 22:21) Somewhere in those instructions, God included every man or woman holding any sort of position, from local police to the Presidentand also how we should react to them. But lest you think I’m off base, let’s read a story about David. 

 David was running from King Saul. King Saul had committed a grave sin against Jehovah, and God had sent the prophet Samuel to anoint a new king. (1Sa 13:13; 1Sa 16:1) God had chosen David, the youngest of his brothers and a man after His heart, and it’s important to note, when Samuel anointed him, the Spirit of God left Saul. (Act 13:22) Even worse, the Bible tells us an evil spirit tormented him. (1Sa 16:13-14) So here’s this kid, an upstart, that God has picked to take his job, and now King Saul wants him dead. (1Sa 19:1)

In this instance, David and his men ducked into a cave, and who should enter that same caveKing Saul! Now, Saul has no idea David’s in the cave, and David’s men suggest he take advantage of that. This could change everything. No more running. No more fear for his life. Plus, he could put himself in power sooner than he’d planned. For a moment, David considers it. He even gives in partially and creeps up to Saul and slices off a piece of his robe.

But conviction hits him immediately. Notice what he says.

“God forbid that I do any harm to my lord, the one chosen by the Eternal to rule. How could I even pretend to assault him, knowing he is the Eternal’s anointed king?” (1 Sam 24:6)

God had anointed Saul to lead Israel despite that being outside of God’s plan. He didn’t want them to have a king. He wanted to be their Source. They chose a man, a fallible icon. They wanted to be like all the nations around them, those that they were sent into the Promised Land to defeat. (1Sa 8:6-9)

There’s a lesson in that. And also in that David, given an opportunity to free himself from Saul’s hatred, instead, honored Saul as king. He knew the position was promised to him upon Saul’s deathHe also knew it wasn’t his role to say how good or bad Saul was. He even refused talk down about him to his followers. David chose to not be offended and, in converse, to honor what God had done. He let God deal with Saul. (1Sa 24:15)

Even greater, when Saul died, twice David punished people, who thought they were taking revenge for him. He buried Saul with honor. He saw that the nation mourned him, AND he sought out Saul’s last living descendent to eat at his (the king’s) table! (2Sa 1:12, 14; 2Sa 4:12; 2Sa 9:11; 2Sa 21:13-14How powerful that is!

Romans 13 says:  It is important that all of us submit to the authorities who have charge over us because God establishes all authority in heaven and on the earth. 2 Therefore, a person who rebels against authority rebels against the order He established … 5 So submission is not optional; it’s required.” (Verses 1-2, 5 VOICE)

To not submit to proper authority is rebellion, which the Bible says is like performing witchcraft. (1Sa 15:23And note, submission is an attitude of the heart. It isn’t simply obeying civil laws. God doesn’t need our help correcting anyone. He is the judge of the conscience, not you and me.

We are to “seek peace and pursue it.” We are to “love one another” in the same measure that Christ loved us. (Ps 34:14; 1Pe 3:11; Jn 13:34) We are to see that there is “no occasion of stumbling or offense” so that we do not lead people into sin. (1Jn 2:9-10 AMP)

God desires unity above all elseThere is one God. We have one faith and one Lord. We must stand united, striving together for the spread of the gospel. (Rm 3:30; Eph 4:5; Php 1:27) That means we submit to God and resist the devil’s attempts to destroy what Jesus died to provide.

Paul is our greatest example, after Christ Himself. He said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”  (1Co 9:22) How moving that is. How convicting. 

Let it guide you next time you think the world needs to know how you feel. Absolutely, they don’t. There’s simply no place for that. (Eph 4:27)

~

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About The Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at @SDWAuthor

 

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