Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
October 9, 1998
Last Updated :
February 13, 2012
Turning The Tables, The Judge Not Tactic, Sowing Division Through Pride And Exaggeration, The Legalist's Approach, The "You Don't Love Me" Tactic, The Direct Approach, Offended By The Truth, Public Rebuke And Love, Emphasizing The Positive, Time Wasters And Energy Drainers, Spiritual Midgets, False Humility, Spiritual Frigidity And Sterility, Our Struggle
Remember; Satan is very subtle. He has all kinds of tactics which he will use in order to try to defeat you. Sometimes he will use the person being corrected to totally turn the tables on you. They will become an accuser of the saints. Instead of humbly receiving the counsel you are trying to share with them, which is really for their own benefit, they will begin to point out your own errors, some of which will probably be true. But do you see what they have really done? Despite the fact that everything you have told them is true, by putting up their own shield of pride, and then casting their own set of accusatory darts right back at you, they have completely rejected the conviction which the Lord was trying to place upon their heart.
To put it another way, they have used your own personal sins and weaknesses as a red herring in order to justify their not receiving a single word that you have shared with them. Because you aren't perfect enough in their view, they feel that your counsel is either not true, or of little worth to them. Short of God Himself, or Jesus coming down in person to deal with them, they probably won't listen to anyone. They will walk away feeling totally justified that they are right, and that you are wrong. What a bad attitude, and what a tragic situation!
If there is one accusatory question which has been used as a defense mechanism by both worldly people and Christians more than any other, it has to be "Who are you to judge me? What right do you have to judge me?". Right after this, they will attempt to quote you, or at least paraphrase Jesus' own words found in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
Matthew 7:1-5, KJV
While the vast majority of people do not know their Bibles, this is one set of verses which they will keep stored in their arsenal of personal defenses. Whenever a brother or a sister tries to point something out to them, out come these big guns! Sadly, because of their inexpertness with the Word of God, these people take the above verses out of context in order to justify their inappropriate behavior, and their rejection of the truth. The Apostle Peter referred to this as wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction:
"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
2 Peter 3:16, KJV
Being as I offer a full explanation of this issue of "judge not" in the article "Exposing the Judge Not Fallacy", I will not go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that the Lord has indeed given His shepherds the responsibility of judging the flocks of God. Moses did it with the children of Israel; the Judges who followed Moses and Joshua did it for over four hundred years; the Prophets who followed them did it for about another thousand years; Peter, Paul and others did it in the New Testament; and we are called to do it today as well. In my view, to use the previous verses to try to negate any form of judgment, correction, or spiritual authority within the body of believers is nothing short of ludicrous. Consider the following example verses which delegate us this authority:
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
John 7:24, KJV
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:15-16, KJV
"For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,"
1 Corinthians 5:3, KJV
"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?"
1 Corinthians 6:2-3, KJV
Another tactic Satan will use is to try to exaggerate or to distort the words that have been spoken. He will attempt to blow the situation out of proportion. He will blow his foul breath on the hot coals of pride and try to create a bonfire which will engulf others in your fellowship. He will do his best to sow division and dissension within the fellowship of the Saints so that some members will side with you, while others will side with the person being dealt with. He has been doing it for thousands of years, and he has perfected his tactics. If there are any verses in the Bible which Satan must truly hate, it must surely include the following:
". . . Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"
Psalms 133:1, KJV
"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
It is in situations like this where other members of your fellowship become involved in the problem, that the full dangers of pride become manifested. You see, while Cancer is indeed a dangerous affliction in the physical sense, pride is an even more dangerous disease in a spiritual sense. Why is this? Quite simply, it's because Cancer is not considered a communicable, or contagious, disease. It normally resides in the body of its victim/host. It is not like the flu, or like chicken pox, or like poison ivy which can spread from one person to the next. Pride, on the other hand, is very contagious. Once it rears its ugly head in one person, it doesn't take long before others are manifesting it as well. What started out as an honest attempt to help out one person, could very easily turn into a serious problem which engulfs the entire fellowship.
Another tactic which some people use in order to try to avoid the conviction of God's Spirit, is to simply become legalists. For example, in their pride they might tell themselves, "Oh, that person just doesn't understand the situation correctly, so I can't possibly accept what they are saying to me. Their perspective is all wrong. They have totally misunderstood me and don't have all of their facts straight. They are in no position to tell me what is true and what isn't."
If that tactic doesn't work, they might become involved in semantics; that is, in particular words that were used. They might say "That isn't what I really meant"; or "That isn't how I really understood the situation". In other words, they try to argue about what you really meant, as opposed to what they really meant. They try to twist the meanings of words, or else they try to give entirely new definitions to certain words or phrases that were spoken. One worldly example of this which immediately comes to my mind is the current sex scandal surrounding American President Bill Clinton and former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. I find President Clinton's attempts to save his reputation, and his job, by applying his own definition to the term "sexual relations" absolutely ridiculous. Instead of becoming such a legalist, I think people would respect him more if he just acted like a man and fully accepted responsibility for his actions, come what may.
Another tactic used by certain people when they are being dealt with is to say something like, "Oh, you didn't say that in a very loving spirit, so I can't possibly accept that as being of the Lord!". Or they might say "You just said that to be vindicative! You don't really love me!". They become offended by a particular word or phrase, and thus justify their ignoring the main lesson the Lord might have for them. They say to themselves, "Well, that person used a very poor choice of words; they really offended me; so I can't accept anything they have to say". Instead of seeing the Lord trying to work behind or through that person, because a grain of truth has pierced their heart, they allow their pride to look for any technical reason which will allow them to justify, (at least in their own heart), their not receiving what is being said to them. Sadly, this tactic usually works, because as we have already seen, the Apostle James wrote:
"For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body."
James 3:2, KJV
Now, as I mentioned earlier, some of us, like myself, tend to be rather blunt and to the point when we deal with certain people. We don't like to waste our time "beating around the bush" carefully choosing our words so as not to offend anyone. We simply want to make our point, deal with the problem at hand in as Scriptural a manner as possible, and then move on to other issues. When one is dealing with what he believes to be a group of mature Christians, he expects them to be able to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and to humbly receive what is being shared with them, without putting up their defensive walls of pride.
This direct kind of approach has its advantages and its disadvantages. Sometimes while in the course of trying to resolve an issue, feelings do get hurt, because you say things that people do not want to hear about themselves. Sometimes it simply can't be helped. We saw earlier how some of the Lord's Disciples were greatly offended when He gave His "flesh and blood" sermon. He told them the straight Truth, but they weren't able to bear it, so they backslid. It is better to speak the truth and lose one, than not speak the truth and lose all, or at least lead them all astray through compromising the truth. Besides that, some people's pride is so great, that they will be offended no matter what you say, and no matter how softly or how diplomatically you try to say it. Someone somewhere will always be offended. As the old saying goes, you can please all of the people some of the time, and you can please some of the people all of the time; but you can never please all of the people all of the time.
Such people would do well to study the Scriptures. The Lord said and did many things in both the Old and the New Testaments which His critics would clearly label as being unloving or too harsh. If Jesus in fact had to rebuke His own Disciples to their faces on certain occasions, which was clearly for their own good, why should we today expect to be treated any differently when we fall into error? I am reminded of the following verse found in Paul's first Epistle to Timothy:
"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."
1 Timothy 5:20, KJV
Thus we see that when someone falls into error, whether it be doctrinal error, or a sin of the heart, and it is known to the body as a whole, it is Scripturally sound to rebuke and correct them before all so that everyone may profit from the lesson being taught. We are all familiar with the popular saying, "A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser man learns from the mistakes of others". While I normally do not quote from sources of worldly wisdom, it is appropriate for this situation as it does agree with Paul's admonition above. In fact, it is in full agreement with the following verse found in the Book of Proverbs:
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."
Proverbs 9:9, KJV
Let's be honest here for a moment; a public rebuke can be hard on the pride of the person being dealt with, but it is probably exactly what they need in order to put the fear of God back into them. As we read in the Old Testament:
"And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
Job 28:28, KJV
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever."
Psalms 111:10, KJV
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."
Proverbs 3:7, KJV
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Proverbs 9:10, KJV
"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."
Proverbs 16:6, KJV
As with a small child who cannot always see or understand a parent's love for him while he is in the middle of being chastised, Satan may also lie to the person being dealt with at the time, and tell them that they are no longer loved; but this is the furthest thing from the truth. As I have pointed out in other articles, godly chastisement is a form of love. It is when we ignore our child's wrongdoings and don't chastise him, that we show our lack of love. If we really love him, we will correct him, no matter how hard it may be on us to do so. When we are rebuked by one of our spiritual elders in the Lord, we need to remember that it is because they love us, and because they are held accountable by God for our souls. They watch for our souls. It is not because they hate us, or because they don't like us, or because they are simply being vindicative because of something we said to them. These are all lies of Satan. In the Old and the New Testaments, we find the following verses:
"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him . . . Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
Hebrews 12:5, 11, KJV
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Revelation 3:19, KJV
One thing which all of the Lord's shepherd's need to watch out for, is that they don't waste time dealing with the Devil's dirty work any longer than is absolutely necessary. When a problem arises in your fellowship, you need to try to resolve it as quickly and as effectively as possible before it drags down the entire flock. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, we are to strive to emphasize the good and the positive as much as possible:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:8, KJV
Believe me, if you let him, the Devil will you keep you tied down with a certain person and their personal problems for a very long time. He will drain you of your time and your energy, and cause you to neglect your main responsibilities to the flock. The more you try to help some people see the error of their ways, the more they will continue to resist. You will find yourself getting caught up in a war of words with no end in sight. Not only will you personally be affected by it, but your flock will as well. Spiritual fatigue and discouragement will set in; and unless the problem is resolved as quickly as possible, some may even choose to leave the flock in search of greener more peaceful pastures. In some cases, you might even end up becoming physically sick, as may have happened to me recently. I was dealing with about three or four different situations at the same time, besides a certain problem involving my own flesh family; and I suspect that it simply became a little too much for me. My spiritual and my physical resistance were down, and I became quite sick for about three weeks. Thank the Lord that I am finally recovering from my illness.
The bottom line is, because of their pride, some people will always find a way to justify their actions, and refuse to be corrected. They will find some way to derail the real issue, and thus remove the spotlight of God's conviction which has been placed upon their heart. What they don't realize is that the longer they cling to their pride, and stubbornly refuse to accept the lesson which the Lord may be trying to teach them, the longer their spiritual growth will be stunted. While those around them might be growing in their relationship with the Lord and with each other, these problem cases will remain spiritual midgets by their own choice. So do you see who the real losers are in these kinds of situations? They are. Sadly, they can use these very same tactics over and over again every time they are dealt with, and they will probably work; but they will never grow.
By now, I am sure you are fully aware of the dangers of yielding to our pride. At this point you may even be asking yourself, "Well, exactly how is one supposed to rid himself of his pride?". As I pointed out earlier in this series, amongst some deluded Christians, one common approach is to simply pretend that they no longer have it. The way they do this is by feigning false humility. Just like the Scribes and the Pharisees of old, they try to be very careful with their words so that they appear to others to be very humble and very pious. They also tend to do certain things, or to act in a certain way which gives others the false impression that they are godly and humble; however, in the Gospel of Matthew, we find the Lord saying the following concerning such hypocrites:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Matthew 6:1-2, KJV
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Matthew 6:5, KJV
"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
Matthew 6:16-18, KJV
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
Matthew 23:25-28, KJV
Clearly then, this is not the way to truly be humble. Acting in this way is simply a proud, pretentious, sickening show of false humility! All of these things done by the religious elders of Israel were merely self-righteous works of the flesh which did not draw them closer to God, but only to themselves and to their own egos. Sadly, Christianity today is full of these very same things. A number of people have written to me telling me how, even though they have been church-goers for many years, something seems to be seriously lacking in their fellowship. While their members appear to be pious, there is a certain spiritual coldness which keeps everyone distanced from each other. In one of His Endtime sermons, Jesus prophesied of this coldness when He said:
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Matthew 24:12, KJV
In other words, because sin and evilness shall abound in the Earth in the Last Days, many people will grow cold towards each other. This is something which none of us can deny. As I point out in other articles, many of us don't even know the names of our neighbors who live down the street from us, or even across the hallway in the same apartment building. We are total strangers to each other. As we have seen throughout this series, one of the chief sins which is prevalent in our lives today, is pride. Pride, inflated egos, and self images we feel we must preserve, strengthen this spiritual coldness which abounds in the world today; and our churches are not immune to it. In fact, I will go as far to say that pride even creates frigidity in our personal sexual relationships; and that if you realize that we are symbolically the Bride of Christ, it is easy to see how it can also affect our relationship with the Lord and with each other. Pride can make us spiritually sterile so that we cannot bare fruit for the Kingdom of God. Our pride simply will not allow us to humbly yield ourselves to the Lord as we know we should.
So perhaps our real question should not be, "How do I get rid of my pride?", but rather "How do I learn to be truly humble?". From the Old Testament, all the way through the New Testament, we are clearly and repeatedly told that we are to walk humbly before the Lord our God. For example, consider some of the following key verses:
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
Psalms 34:18, KJV
"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility."
Proverbs 18:12, KJV
". . . but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."
Isaiah 66:2b, KJV
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:3, KJV
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:5, KJV
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
Matthew 11:29, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:4, KJV
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Matthew 23:11-12, KJV
"But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Mark 10:43-45, KJV
Over and over again we are told to be humble, to practice humility, to esteem our brethren more than ourselves. How do we do this when our ego wants us to do the exact opposite? How do we resist our pride and make ourselves humble? The simple truth of the matter is that we cannot make ourselves humble no matter how hard we try. We cannot be humble of our own accord. We can try to be humble, and we might even convince ourselves that we have actually succeeded at it for a short time, but others will see right through it; just as Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the Scribes and the Pharisees of old. We can consciously make efforts to take the lower seat as Jesus and His Disciples advised us to do, but believe me, it won't last for very long. Sooner or later we will grow tired of this vain work of the flesh, and we will be back to our old selves again. Not only that, but we will probably end up more discouraged than ever, thinking that we are just one hopeless case; which we are, without Jesus.
So what is the solution to this problem? Is there really a solution? Obviously there must be; otherwise the Bible would not instruct us so many times to be humble. The Lord is not in the habit of placing a stumbling block in the way of His children. There is a way out of this predicament, just as there is a way out of every trial that we face; for as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV
The Lord will not ask us to go where He Himself has not gone before; and that is actually part of the answer right there. To be humble, we must first understand what it actually means to be humble. As you will see in the final part of this series, the world's definition of what it means to be humble is very different from how God views humility. By looking at the life of Christ, we will come to a full understanding of godly humility. I hope that you will join me.
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