Friday, July 22, 2016

Handling Determined Dissenters / Opposers

Our firm conviction is one of those things that can cause irritation when we meet those who adamantly disagree with us (no matter which belief it is we hold dear). Admittedly, more than once the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I allowed my emotions to stir up anger and frustration in me. It is times like these that I need to step back and look at the big picture. What do I mean?

First of all, I need to remind myself that this is not my work, I am merely one of “God’s fellow workers.” Oh sure, we may work hard in planting, watering, cultivating, but it is “God who makes it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7-9). The obligation that any Christian has in regards to promulgating the faith is to preach and teach.

But what happens when we meet opposers that want to argue? While we might take some time to see if we can reach their heart with the heartwarming message of God’s Kingdom, after a while it just becomes a fruitless endeavor for both sides. The apostles of Jesus encountered such ones. In Matthew chapter 15 the apostles approached Jesus and asked if he was aware that the religious leaders were “stumbled” over Jesus words. What was his response? Matthew 15:14 reads: “Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

I used this in flipping the responsibility onto the backs of those who seek us out for no other reason than to debate. One particularly cocky young man would show up weekly for several months at the Kingdom Hall every Sunday for no other purpose than to engage us in an argument. Finally, after several months, I asked him, “Do you believe that you have the right understanding and that we are apostates or at very least misleading people?” He confirmed he did believe that. I then ask him why he refused to obey Jesus’ directions in such cases. He looked confused. I turned to Matthew 15:14 and read it. Then I asked, “So if you believe we are blind guides, what did Jesus tell you to do?” He never came back. Yes, there is a difference with spreading the “good news” and targeting specific people to try to undermine their beliefs or to win arguments.

We recognize that we will not convert the whole world. We even recognize that some will strongly assert they are Christians but are making false claims. So while we indiscriminately engage in our worldwide preaching activity, looking for those who appreciate the value of God’s Kingdom, we do not act like our opposers. What the opposers do is not spreading the good news. They are looking to selectively attack certain religions. Even though we may patiently and repeatedly try to reason with them, that isn’t something they are truly interested in. They merely want to win an argument and will continue with their attempts until they, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, snatch an unsuspecting sheep.

When Satan tempted Eve, his sly, twisted words implied that God was holding something back from her; that God himself was a liar. Just like Satan, those opposed to our beliefs try to twist our beliefs to confuse some that may not be spiritually strong. And just like Satan, they will use phrases to get us to think they are on our side; have our best interests at heart; play on our egos that we are good people but just that the Watchtower has deceived us. Over the years, I’ve met at least 3 or 4 of those types. When I showed them directly from scripture how they were wrong, their whole attitude changed to anger and attack mode – just like their father, the devil.

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