Speaking the truth is often met with people trying to convince you to water-down your message, or shut-up completely. Here’s how to respond to the backlash.
- 5 Responses from sinners
- 5 Responses from religious folks
- It Is Written.
- Understanding Their Anger
- Persecuting Jesus
- Getting personal
- We need to learn to shut up
- The Holy Spirit
Speaking the truth with boldness can be equated to speaking the truth in love. To speak in love is to tell the entire truth – the negative and the positive which is the entire Word of God (Acts 20:27). But the Harlot Church says, “Your messages need to be more positive. Stop talking about godly character, morals, righteousness, sin, and the consequences. I wanna hear messages about love, grace, and how God is going to bless me.” In other words, they say, “Withhold part of the truth so that you don’t make me uncomfortable.”
That is not the love of God defined in the Bible (as outlined in 1 Cor 13:6). This keep-the-offensive-and negative-truth-hidden kind of love is the Harlot Church’s view which eventually damns a soul to hell. Therefore, all these preachers who preach this comfortable doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS), or that imply that you can work-your-way-into-heaven, actually hate their congregants, and are cowards because they won’t stand up, be bold and tell the truth.
In response to speaking the truth, we as followers of Jesus Christ are usually hit with all kinds of insults and demeaning comments. This persecution comes from two groups of people. The first are the basic sinners – those who don’t attend church and care nothing for the things of God. The second group, just like in Jesus’ day, are the religious folks – the fake Christians – the sinners who pretend to love God but refuse to obey him. The Harlot Church is our greatest opposition. There are typically five different responses from both groups. I’ll start with the sinners:
5 Responses from sinners
Aside from completely cursing you out and screaming in your face, you’ll usually hear these kinds of responses:
1. “You’re narrow-minded”
This implies that narrow-mindedness is wrong. And the sinner is correct, according to their worldly view of it. In the world system, someone who doesn’t try and/or accept new things (usually sins) are considered narrow in their thinking. But God called us to be narrow-minded – to be singular in our focus which is only on him (Matthew 6:22 KJV). We are also to have the mind of Christ which is very narrow by the world’s stand point (1 Cor 2:16). Jesus also said to enter into the narrow gate – “narrow is the way, which leads to life” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Whatever Jesus says is a sin will never change, and the way to the Father, which is only through Christ, will never change (John 14:6). The gospel is a very narrow message to sinners who want to proclaim that all roads lead to God. My answer to them is: “You’re right, I am narrow-minded, there’s nothing wrong with that because my God is narrow-minded. If he says that sin leads to hell, and only by Jesus can anyone get to heaven, perhaps you should consider repentance so that you can be saved and go to heaven.”
2. “You’re judgmental”
You’ll usually hear this from sinners who think they know what the bible says in Matthew 7. Answer: “The judgment scripture in Matthew 7 actually talks about judging and condemning another person in hypocrisy. I’m not practicing the sins that you are committing, nor do I condemn you to hell – only God can do that. Therefore my judgment is righteous. I can discern both good and evil according to the Bible. Now, if you continue in sin, you are in danger of death in hell, as the scriptures say, ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23).”
3. “You’re self-righteous”
What is self-righteousness? It is when a person creates their own level of righteousness and puts others down for not meeting their standard. As a Christian, we proclaim the righteousness of God, not our own standards. Therefore we cannot be self-righteous when all we do is repeat the commandments and dictates of God found in the Bible. This self-righteous comment can also come in the form of “you think you’re perfect and without sin”. Answer: “No one is without sin. As Christians, we may occasionally sin, but we don’t practice sin. We’re not perfect, but we can be perfect through God’s power. These are not our standards but God’s, and we seek to live up to these standards as we are commanded to tell others to do the same.”
4. “You’re reflecting your issues on to me. I hope you get well.”
You’ll hear this from people who claim to know you. Perhaps family members, friends of colleagues. They’re implying that you’re bitter, angry, wounded inside and something is wrong with you, and that you are now taking it out on them. This is their way of detouring from the truth of their sinful state while taking a stab at you. This is often used by controlling and manipulative people. Their goal is to lead you into introspective thought as you try to discover why you would say such an offensive and negative thing to them (the gospel truth) because of your own inner issues. Bull crap! It’s all one big lie. They’re simply offended by the truth.
5. “You’re not loving”
This is another lie you’ll hear from people who think that the gospel is an all-positive message. The gospel truth may hit them so hard that they’ll even call God’s message hatred or harassment. In some cases, they’ll even cry and pretend as if you really hurt them and don’t love them. But wait, this is just another trick. They’re trying to send you on a guilt trip. This response is often used together in response #4. Don’t buy it. They’re simply offended and don’t like the fact that you told them the truth. We’ve already established that love and truth go hand in hand.
5 Responses from religious folks
When you begin to expose false doctrines that religious people believe, you often hear these kinds of responses:
1. Vilifying by association of disassociation
They’ll say things like, “You seem to be teaching the doctrines of the early false brethren in Paul’s day. Your beliefs and teachings are of the Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims” etc. This is to vilify you by associating your beliefs with evil, cults and false religions. Or, they will vilify you by disassociation with the true God, saying things like: “You’re not hearing from God, but the devil. You don’t have the Holy Spirit. You’re not saved” etc.
2. Accusations of character flaws and name calling
Either directly or indirectly, I’ve heard stuff like: “You’re arrogant. Mean-spirited. You have no integrity. You’re trying to tear me down. You’re a hurtful person; stupid, fool” – but as you’ll discover, these are usually the exact characteristics they exhibit. They insult you to take the focus off the gospel so that you can begin to feel bad or get angry and do or say something you’ll regret. By their response, they choose hell. Hopefully the Lord will give them more time to repent.
3. Using God and the bible to scare you.
I recently told a Baptist pastor that he was damning souls to hell for teaching the doctrine of Eternal Security. I was calling him a false teacher. Among other insults and names he called me, he said, “You’ve brought a false accusation against the man of God…” then he implied that God was going to punish me. This was just plain stupid to me. There was nothing false about my accusation. He was trying to put fear in me so that I would back off of him. This God’s-not-going-to-bless-you, or God’s-going-to-get-you only works on those who don’t know God themselves. Religious leaders will use bible scriptures (out of context) to condemn you all day, if you let them. I simply disregard this scare tactic and move on. If you know that you were sent by God, and you’ve proven their doctrine to be false, what’s to be afraid of? Nothing (Ephesians 5:11).
4. Blessing and cursing
In one sentence they speak highly of your character and the next patronize and ridicule you. It is done to simply hurt you. These people are clearly scoffers. If you have any need to be accepted by them, you’ll accept what they say about you. By attempting to hurt you, they excuse the fact that they need to get right with God and bring even more judgment to themselves.
5. “You’re not qualified to speak on this, you ‘Layman’.”
According to some people, you must possess a degree or be anointed by men to even talk about the Word. To them, you’re not valid or smart enough because you didn’t graduate from bible college. But God doesn’t qualify his servants based off their worldly schooling, he qualifies them through obedience to his Word. Understanding the scriptures doesn’t come from a bunch of old, white dudes in the cemetery seminary, or multiple commentaries and christian books, but rather from the Holy Spirit (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Most of these guys have a bunch of data floating around in their heads – information they’ve got from other men who tried to decipher the scriptures apart from the Holy Spirit. Through that method, they’ll get the bible wrong, and everyone else who repeats what they teach will be in error. There’s nothing wrong with bible colleges, but God’s servants are qualified by God and not the world’s standards. Once again, this is just another deterrent from the gospel truth. Measuring a Christian by the world’s standards is a sure sign that these people need to renew their minds.
It Is Written.
When speaking with church folks, the most important think to do is to stay within the confines of the scriptures. When Jesus dealt with Satan, he kept quoting the bible. Jesus never got off the word of God into a debate with the devil about something else. As the devil asked questions to deter Jesus, Jesus kept saying, “It is written…” (Matt 4:1-11) As long as we don’t deviate from the message of God, most church people (if they believe the bible) become silent. Don’t get into intellectual discussions and debates. Religious folks will either close their mouths or respond with the five different responses I gave above.
So how should we deal with it?
Understanding Their Anger
First of all, even though most will scoff and insult you, some will repent and come to the truth. It’s always great to see someone turn to God and away from religion or the world. But for the most part, you’ll get negative responses. This is because most don’t want God. They are on the broad road that leads to destruction. Deep down, these people hate Jesus and his messengers, and their pride prevents them from receiving the truth. Here’s the difference between humility and pride:
Humility’s response: Truth → Conviction → Pain → Repentance
Pride’s response: Truth → Conviction → Offense → Anger
Sinners know that they are committing sin. They love their sin but don’t want to be viewed as a evil person who’s against God. Therefore, the truth exposes their wickedness and crushes their own little fantasy world – a world that continues forever and where society considers them a good person.
Religious people believe in a works-based salvation, or OSAS because it’s easier to surrender to their flesh and obey their own works instead of the dictates of God in the bible. They don’t want to obey Jesus, deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow him (Matt 16:24-25). They don’t want to crucify their old man – it’s too painful. They’d rather live in comfort. So they hate to hear that their world is coming to an end, and that they’ll be in hell if they don’t repent and obey God through the power his Spirit.
When they verbally assault us, they verbally assault Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords. Their verbal and physical attacks ram right into the King of Kings because his followers are inside him. Jesus said to Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) We are his body and Jesus is our head. When people respond in rejection, name calling and so forth, they actually persecute the Lord of Lords.
People don’t really know what they’re doing. This is why Jesus and Stephen prayed the same thing: Father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34, Acts 7:60). I used to wonder why both of them said that at death. To me, these people knew perfectly well what they were doing. But when people attack us, they don’t really look at it as hurting the children of thee Almighty God in heaven. There are hellish consequences for persecuting God’s children and especially his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, I pray the same prayer: “Lord, have mercy on them because they don’t know what they are doing.”
Often, it gets personal. There are three reason for this:
1. To append fault to the messenger.
They think by appending fault, they can vilify and discredit the messenger. Therefore, either justifying their sin or excusing the wrath of God. This is completely stupid. Even if the speaker of the gospel was a transvestite whore it still wouldn’t justify the sin and excuse the wrath of God to the hearer. No one is judged based off the sins of another. Everyone is judged individually and according to the standards of God.
2. “I’m too sinful to speak the gospel.”
As a person who’s often examines himself, I used to wonder if the characteristics my opponent would append to me were really true. I would think, “Am I doing this in pride, am I being too harsh?” I finally realized that it was a trick of the enemy. While we can become proud, we must examine ourselves and know that pride leads to a fall (2 Cor 13:5, Pro 16:18). As true followers of God, we mustn’t preach the gospel in the flesh. And when we are accused of pride, usually by some religious leader, we must be sure they aren’t telling the truth. Because then, we have no business telling people about God until this is resolved. On the other hand, we mustn’t allow the enemy to lie to us, leading to our self-examination and backing away from the preaching of the gospel because we feel we are unfit to preach.
3. To put you on the defensive.
This is the devil’s way of getting you to be offended, to stir up pride, so that a simple delivery of a message turns into a competition of who can out-talk the other. Winning an argument becomes the focus and not the simple delivery of the message. A mailman isn’t offended if he delivers a bill and the recipient hates him for it. The recipient is mad at the company who sent the bill, not the mailman. The mailman doesn’t take it personally. This is how you and I have to look at it. They may personally attack us, but it’s because they’re mad at Jesus Christ.
Don’t allow people to get you offended to the point that you start defending your entire character and lifestyle. I know of many times I was put on the defensive by people who simply didn’t want to hear the gospel truth of God. We shouldn’t be led into personal defensiveness, but rather stay within the topic of the gospel. God is our defender. Whatever they say about us it irrelevant, it has nothing to do with the truth of God. However, we should seek to be blameless, so that there is no fault or pride that can be used against us (Philippians 2:15).
We need to learn to shut up
When I encounter scoffers, pigs and dogs, as the bible refers to them, I leave them alone and give them to God. There is no need to engage them any further. To do so would only bring shame, guilt and unnecessary, physical violence. It is not our jobs to save anyone. We don’t have to exert all this energy to get someone to see the truth or believe the bible. Some are simply blinded by demons (2 Corinthians 4:4) or delusions (2 Thess 2:11-12) and God hasn’t revealed the truth to them yet. Others are reprobate and God is finished with them (Romans 1:28).
We mustn’t be one of these people who has to make people see it our way. This is a clear sign of pride. The pride in a Christian will make them think that the rejection of the gospel is a personal attack in which they take offense, when really, God is the only one who should be offended. Let’s be like the mailman and not care about the recipient’s reaction to the bill. Let’s not take it personal. Drop the attitude. Forget those people. I’ve lost most of my energy trying to convince Baptists and Calvinists of the error in the doctrine of Eternal Security. If they want to believe it, let them. It’s their souls, not mine.
After the case has been made and the gospel as been preached, there is no need to continue to go back and forth with a person. Let them talk their talk and throw insults, but let’s not return evil for evil:
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:44-48).
I know it can seem unfair to listen to insults without returning the same, but God is our avenger (Romans 12:19). Our flesh wants to return evil for evil, but God wants us to be like him. People curse Jesus out everyday, but he doesn’t cause lightning to strike them down. Let’s be like Christ. Verbal persecution doesn’t compare to being beaten, burned alive, whipped, stabbed and some of the torture we will have to go through, but words still hurt. God is with us and I personally want to get to the place where I rejoice in persecution for Christ’s sake (Acts 5:41). I say “I want to get to the place”, because I’m not there yet.
The Holy Spirit
After many opportunities to speak-up and tell the gospel truth, I was dead silent. The Holy Spirit showed me just how much the old man was still alive in me, how weak I am, and how much I need the power of the Spirit. Writing the truth via a blog or email can be difficult. Speaking via telephone can be even more difficult. But the hardest is the face to face, especially if there’s more than one person.
I’ve learned that the more I fast, pray, and ask for his power, the more the old man dies, the bolder I become, and the more the new man flourishes in the power of the Spirit. In this state, I don’t care what others think or do because the flesh is dead, and the Spirit of God uses my body and tongue to speak the bold truth. I pray that I and all Christians become bold enough to stand with and for Christ Jesus in these last and evil days.