In today’s day and age, it is so simple for us to sit behind a screen and not hold ourselves accountable for the things we put on the internet. The thing is we are held to a higher standard than the world. As Christians, what we put out there for others to read directly affects others, both Christians and non-Christians alike. We are planting seeds by pushing buttons. Are those seeds for the glory of God or do they satisfy our selfish need for glory?
On Facebook, my husband and I had followed a certain popular page that creates memes for Christians. For a while, it was funny. Some of them were quite humorous. After a while I started to notice a trend: so-called Christians mudslinging and getting into outright arguments over their religious leanings. I noticed two very serious accusations being thrown around willy-nilly at the slightest hint of disagreement: heretic and false prophet.
Guys, we are to be building each other up, not being keyboard warriors and shining our hineys in an effort to make ourselves seem more righteous. WHAT KIND OF GOD ARE WE PORTRAYING? Not the God I serve. I serve a holy, loving, caring God. I don’t serve a God who is ready to throw me into the pits of hell at the first sign of my indiscretions. I serve a God who sent His Only Son to be tortured and brutally murdered so that I could have life, so that my sins could no longer be held against me, so that HE could have relationship with ME, a sinner who wasn’t worthy.
Do we realize the weight of an accusation such as heretic or false prophet? I honestly believe that if we did, we wouldn’t throw it around so hastily.
Mark 7:6-9 defines a false prophet as one who “constantly honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far distant from Me. In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching (to be obeyed) as doctrines the commandments and precepts of man. You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men (keeping it carefully and faithfully). And He said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your own human regulations!”
So, here is my question: When we accuse someone of being a heretic, a false prophet, we are, in essence, judging their hearts to be turned form God. And why? Because they disagree with us? Because we are so much more righteous in our understanding? No. We call them heretics and false prophets because we are too righteous in our own eyes to be calm and lovingly discuss the intricacies of the Word of God, because we are puffed up and afraid of being wrong.
James 4:11 tells us My brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law, but a censor and judge of it. Only one is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you that you presume to pass judgement on your neighbor?
No. Instead, we are to edify each other, to encourage, to counsel, and to do it LOVINGLY as we are given examples:
1 Thess 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and edify (strengthen, build up) one another, just as you are doing.
Galatians 6:1-3: Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are responsible and controlled by the Holy Spirit should set him right and RESTORE HIM and REINSTATE HIM without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye o yourself, lest you be tempted also.
2 Tim 4:2- Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage- with GREAT PATIENCE and CAREFUL INSTRUCTION.
1 Pt 3:8 Finally, all should be of one and the same mind, sympathizing, loving each other as brethren, compassionate and courteous.
Friend, when we are Christians, everything we do is a reflection upon Jesus. Nobody wants a God who is bitter, self-righteous, and waiting on the ready to attack. And that is a good thing because that God doesn’t exist. God is a God of mercy, grace, and restoration and it is time that we as Christians start presenting ourselves to each other and the world as children of that loving God.
Love to my loves,