Do you ever get those moments where you hear something so wrong or so misconstrued that you just want to scream? The establishment where I work actively promotes ideological pluralism, scientific untruths, and in general, societal and moral ideas of which God would not approve. This community as a whole views the world through an extremely liberal lens and often misrepresents in a vilifying manner any and all dissenting perspectives. Especially those from a conservative Christian leaning. As an employee here, I often have to monitor events and lectures of this nature whose content makes my body ache with a deep burning, almost as if my bones are on fire. It makes me want to rip my hair out and scream against the pseudointellectual tsunami of nonsense being spewed forth!
But I bite my tongue. Or I try to anyway. There is a time and a place for civilized and fruitful discussion, and before a sea of wolves is not it. I’ve brought up my aggrieved thoughts during Q and A segments of these events in the past, only to be met with ravenous looks of bitter confusion. The people there aren’t in attendance to have their minds changed or their beliefs challenged; rather, they seek echoed confirmation and authoritative affirmation that they are in the right. So instead, I’ve begun to occasionally strike up conversation with curious individuals during periphery moments, and these discussions generally lead to much more fruitful ends! I’m learning more and more not to wage war with the world on the world’s own terms. And who would’ve thunk it that the bible gives exactly this advice!
4. Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.
5. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
12. Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
17. He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
As we’ve studied recently in our bible class, the book of James gives us a fairly comprehensive view of faith, telling us both what it is, and what it is not. The overarching point being made by James is that true faith ought to illicit action; we were given an active charge by Jesus to live as Christians. James says in chapter 4 verse 17 that “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” And truly, if we believe something to be true, we ought not be able to restrain ourselves from acting as such! I’m reminded of Jeremiah’s response regarding his unpopular charge by God to bring His words to the unruly people in Jeremiah 20:9. Jeremiah didn’t want to face the mocking crowds, telling himself “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” Then he goes on to say “but His word was in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.” Having the truth amidst a sea of lies probably made him want to rip out his hair and scream!
As I grow in the faith and attain wisdom from the Lord in my life and in His word, I’m becoming better at judging when I should take out my sword, and when I should leave it in its sheath. Jesus said in Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” But this doesn’t mean that these ‘dogs’ and ‘swine’ aren’t undeserving of God’s gift of salvation. I’m sure at some point in our own individual histories, we were all ‘dogs’ and ‘swine’, unwaveringly convinced of another truth. That is, until our hearts were ready to accept THE Truth. What were the circumstances that allowed for your heart to be moved by God’s message? How can this insight help in allowing God to touch the souls of those around you? Jesus died for all that all might live (2 Corinthians 5:11-15). Our charge isn’t simply to shine out as truth, but to ensure that the hearts of those around us are convicted to do likewise. So seek to be wise in choosing where and how to take up arms.
“I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)