TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday, I listened to a podcast. Matthew West had invited Allie Beth Stuckey to be his guest to discuss the controversy of his parody song, “Moddest is Hottest.” It came out a month or so ago, and I never did hear it. I meant to, but I was busy, and by the time I thought of it again, he had pulled it down because of the overwhelming criticism he got about his parenting style and family. His intentions were attacked from one side, and after removing the video, he was attacked as a coward from the other. The guy couldn’t win. I’ve been following Matthew West’s music for a while now, and even without hearing the song, I trust that there was nothing nefarious about his intentions.
And I empathize with him because I had a parenting article go viral in 2014, which totally shook me. While there was a lot of positive feedback for it, over the course of five days, total strangers made assumptions about my parenting and attacked me. The article written for my community magazine with an average reach of 60,000 had reached almost 800,000 in less than a week bringing with it a tidal wave of opinions and commentary. I remember begging God to please make it stop, and like a switch — the article stopped trending. (Thank You, again, God!)
All that to say, I was really interested in this podcast. I knew I was going to relate. But I also felt for Matthew… I know how hateful people were to me in 2014, and people are even more vicious today.
What I didn’t expect were some serious truth bombs. Some of the quotes I wrote down were:
- “But is it true? … Is it true to God’s Word? Or is it true to my truth?” (Mixture of both Allie Beth and Matthew)
- “When people elevate their truth over THE truth, then everything is personal.” ~Allie Beth Stuckey
- On people’s attitudes: “Respect my truth, but I don’t have to respect yours.” ~Matthew West
Talk about hitting the nail on the head.
It’s an eye-opener, and for Christians, it should give us pause for thought. Are we living according to God’s Word? Or our own?
It’s little secret that it’s hard to be a Christian in today’s world. To advocate for the unborn… To stand up for traditional marriage… or dare to count the genders and stop at two — the world says these things are hateful.
Stepping away from the topic of Christianity for just a moment — when did disagreeing with someone become synonymous with hatred?! I disagree with my husband sometimes, but I don’t hate him. He disagrees with me sometimes, but I know he doesn’t hate me. He’s wrong, but he doesn’t hate me…. Haha! (Just kidding, Wayne! I know that every now and then, you’re right and I’m wrong…)
But stepping back to Christianity — the world says that agreeing with God’s Word is not only hateful, it also means we’re backward, judgmental, and horrible people. Y’all, it’s exhausting. Even among my Christian friends, there are certain controversial topics that are landmines because every aspect of our lives has become politicized.
While I’m fervent for the Word of God, some of these people put me to shame. Their zeal can reach Phariseean proportions (Phariseean is not a word — I made it up.) I don’t know how they have the stamina to be so indignant all the time. They preach tolerance and acceptance to everyone and everything… except the Bible. In their anger and hostility, they are ready to cast stones on anyone with a different opinion or anyone who says they believe Scripture instead of what is culturally demanded.
To be clear in case there are any questions: my truth is His truth. And if there’s a problem with that, bring on the stones. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). I believe that. He also prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). And I believe that too.
As you ponder truth — is the truth you believe based on God’s definition of truth? Or your own?
Guess who is right and who is wrong? I’ve shared this before: my favorite pastor, Greg Laurie, frequently says, “If you don’t agree with what the Bible says, change your opinion. The Bible is right, and you are wrong.”
Look, we all want our voices heard, and at times, we don’t understand God’s ways. We’re not supposed to. They are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). But just because we don’t understand them, it doesn’t mean we get to reject them. We aren’t the Creator, we are the creation. Vernon McGee put it brilliantly when he said, “This is God’s universe, and God does things His way. You may have a better way, but you don’t have a universe.”
But then there’s the second part — respect. To disagree does not mean to disrespect. I’ve seen some content in the last year that had made my skin crawl, and I look at these people… and honestly, I want to weep. I fear for their souls because they are so deep into the lies of the world. But while we’re light years away from agreeing with one another (probably on anything), I respect two things about them:
- They, like me, are created in the image of the one, true, living God who loves them.
- And while I can’t respect their opinion, I respect that God allows them the freedom to have it.
Note: I didn’t say God agrees or condones their opinions or choices. I said He allows it. Because God is love (1 John 4:16), and love always gives a choice. Let’s go to John 14:15. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” The choice is found in the tiny little two-letter word at the start of the sentence — “if.” Jesus wants our obedience, and He wants us to follow His Word. But only IF we love Him. He didn’t demand it. The word “if” allows for choice. To choose not to obey is the wrong choice, but it’s a choice He allows people to make.
Y’all, I could keep going, but this is getting really long… I wish I could flip a switch and make us all just get along. Wouldn’t that be nice? But it’s not Biblical. All that’s happening is part of the end times (2 Timothy 3:2). It’s going to get worse, not better.
We can’t change others, but we can pray for them. And we can pray that God’s truth will be our truth and that because of His authority, we can stand firm without shrinking back in fear. No matter how loud the world gets, we know who wins.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for being the truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay strong in the truth and accept the things that God says — even if you don’t understand them. And in all things, ask for the courage to show respect and kindness in the face of those who hate you for your faith. Ask for the ability to act on Proverbs 25:21-22, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.”
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.