When Do We Stop?

Today, as I was reviewing Facebook, someone posted this message:

In life, it’s important to know when to stop arguing with people and simply let them be wrong

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

I thought about this with regard to the many times I have seen a discussion devolve into an argument, all because one person wouldn’t stop trying to get the other person to agree. The exchange of ideas was corrupted into an exchange of insults because of one person’s stubborn pridefulness not allowing the other person to have their own view.

For those who profess to be Believers, meaning people who are supposed to be God-fearing, respectful, compassionate, and loving of others to argue about things to the point where their pride takes over is a very poor way to represent God. It doesn’t glorify him, at all! What makes it worse is that the person who refuses to stop arguing will, more often than not, say they are just telling the truth, which they proclaim justifies their rude behavior.

Shaul tells us that righteous anger is fine, and it is, but it is no excuse for being nasty or disrespectful to someone. The same goes for telling the truth; as far as I am concerned, if you are unable to tell someone your understanding of “the truth” without having to yell at or insult them, then not only have you already lost the argument but your truth might not really be the truth.

Now, someone may say that Yeshua insulted the Pharisees and Scribes and Torah-teachers often, and that is true. My answer to that point of fact is this: you ain’t Yeshua! And when he spoke, even those who were against him could not argue with him because his truth was God’s truth and stood on its own. When you or I discuss God with others and they don’t accept what we say, or tell us we are wrong,  before we start to insult them we might consider that if what we say isn’t strong enough to stand on its own, maybe what we think is right is actually wrong. Or maybe what we are saying is right but we are saying it in a wrong way.

I learned this lesson many years ago when I received a left-handed compliment from my boss. I was a Sales Manager for Home Depot’s At-Home Services and the Senior Vice President I was working for told me that what I say is almost always correct, but (here comes the down-side) it becomes impotent because of the way I say it. You see, I was just telling the truth, but the way I told it rendered it useless because it made people upset.

God gave each and every one of us Free Will because he wants us to choose to worship him. We also can choose to reject God and all he says. That means God, himself, allows someone to be wrong if they choose to be wrong. So who are we to disallow that which God allows?

Your truth may not be my truth, and (truthfully) both may still be true. What is important is that we don’t tell someone the truth in order to show how correct we are, but to help them come closer to God. It is all about bringing people into proper relationship with God and Messiah, so when someone chooses to reject what you say, go ahead and make an argument without arguing. Allow them a minute or so to take it in, and if they are willing to continue to listen then you are doing well. If they reject what you say, and refuse to accept any proof from you, then before the discussion becomes an argument, do as God does and allow them to be wrong.

One last point: remember how God told the prophets that if they did not tell the people to repent, then their blood would be on his head? But, if after telling them to repent, they decided to reject God’s warnings and continued to sin, then the prophet would be free of their blood and it would be on their own heads? This rule holds true for us, as well. We are to try to bring people into the Kingdom of God but not by force, coercion, fear, or bribery (such as telling them about all the blessings they receive for being Believers.)

As purveyors of God’s truth, your job and mine is simply to tell the truth as God has shown it to us and allow people to make up their own minds.

Thank you for being here, and please share this out to your friends and family, and SUBSCRIBE so that when I post you will be notified. And I always welcome comments, all I ask is that you be nice.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Nice May Not Be Nice

I was riding my bike last week and came to a large intersection. I walked the bike half-way across, and was standing in the yellow safety zone, waiting for the light to change to red so I could safely cross the three lane highway. A car was coming down the left turn only lane, and stopped about 10 feet before me, which was about 30 feet before the light. He had a green light, and there was no oncoming traffic. He was, I suppose, trying to be nice and allow me to cross the street ahead of him.

Maybe he thought he was being nice, but he was really leading me to my death. The idiot seemed to forget that there were still three lanes of high speed traffic right on the other side of his car, all with a green light and the drivers would be totally blind to me crossing in front of his car. What he thought was being nice was really attempted murder!

I thought about this in spiritual terms, and realized this is what the enemy will do to us if we are careless and just do as we are told. I mean, really now- do you think he will walk up to you and say,”Hey, there! I’m the Devil, I want you to give up your salvation and suffer in eternal torment with me. Whaddaya say?”  Nah- not likely.  What the enemy will do is to approach you carefully, with a great big smile and his hand out to shake yours. He will be nice, he will offer you something that you really want, and it may seem spiritually pleasing to have it. He will try to convince you that he is on your side, he is also a Believer and he knows what is God’s desire for you. He will entice you with worldly rewards and tell you they are blessings from God that you receive for proper obedience.

He will let you cross the street in front of him, knowing there are cars speeding by on the other side, and smiling at you while you walk blindly into traffic.

Yeshua told His Talmudim (Disciples) when He sent them into the world to preach that they need to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16) so that they can show the love and compassion of Messiah, but not be so stupid as to cross the road blindly and get run over.

I believe God gave me this simple warning to share with you: the enemy will come as a friend, as a helper, and as a Believer who loves the Lord and wants to help you know Him better. He will entice you with spiritual awareness and sound like he really has an insight to God, but he is a false prophet. How will you know the difference? By looking past the nice things and seeing what is behind them. By being on the alert, always, and being suspicious of everything and anything that seems to be too easy to have. Let’s not forget that Yeshua tells us following Him is not easy:

         Luke 9:62   Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of God;

Matthew 10:35   For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-…;

Matthew 8:20    Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

It is better to suspect now and find out later that you are wrong, then to accept blindly and find out later that you are doomed.

This is my formula for knowing if something is from God or from somewhere else: if it is easy to do, gives me worldly rewards and everyone else is doing it, then I probably shouldn’t be doing it.

That, and look twice before crossing the street.