2001-10-11 - My Anointed
1 Chron 16:22 "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." (NAS)
I got one of those letters this week. One of those letters telling us all what an awful, good for nothing, snake in the grass thief one of the more public evangelists is and a disgrace to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I usually simply throw them in the delete pile. But this one bothered me. I actually read the whole thing. And when I was done, I thought of the damage that had just been done to the cause of Christ by the person sending the mail.
There are believers who are young in their walk, immature in their faith and even strong faithful men and women who will be tricked when one of their pet peeves is touched. Some people will be fooled in their immaturity or rash thinking into believing the unsubstantiated and inconsistent material that was presented in this diatribe. And others still will have doubts planted in their minds. Could it be that even this evangelist, who is as human as the rest of us, is secretly doing things he should not?
No human being can truly know the heart of another human being beyond a shadow of a doubt. We have those few special relationships where we finish each other's thoughts or sentences. But even those, as special as they may be, are not 100% air tight. We can even deceive ourselves, not wanting to see something in ourselves or another person who we care about. We just can not be totally sure. But God knows our hearts and our thoughts even before the thought enters our mind. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows who He has called and anointed to His service as an evangelist or public leader. He also knows our frame and that we are but dust. If we do stumble, correction must come. But there is always forgiveness ready to be poured out in lavish amounts when real repentance comes.
When I have a log in my own eye - when I sin before my feet hit the floor in the morning, I will be very circumspect before I consider raising the flag of caution against another person claiming they are not toing the mark and living the life. When does the correction do more damage than good to the cause of the gospel? What is my motivation in correcting this individual? Do I understand all of the facts and dynamics of a situation clearly? Is my information correct to a very high degree of certainty? All of these things and more must be considered before the first step is taken, especially with a minister, evangelist or other public figure in the church. But these considerations would include any correction to anyone in reality. Respect for the individual and concern for our own reputations should lead us to tread carefully, to express concern or questions privately (Matt 18:15-17).
As you grow in your walk and your faith, you will probably learn as most do - not how much better you are becoming, but how much more horrific your sin really is and has been all along. The more you get a grip on the awfulness of your sin, the more grateful you are to the Lord Who has saved you from the judgment and punishment you deserve by His grace and mercy alone. The more you learn of your own frailty and total dependence on God, the less and less inclined you will be to cast stones at others. It is not such a question why more people are not saved by the grace of Christ. It is a wonder that any of us are saved at all, and only by His amazing grace and love.
Grace & Peace,