In these environments, the believer is left with two choices. Stay and smile (but shut up), or leave. Unfortunately, to stay and smile and not speak up damages the conscience and quenches the Spirit. It is dishonest, and your Christian church life becomes a game of keeping the peace and acting like everything is okay. Over time if you keep practicing this you will have to stifle and numb, even “sear” the voice of your conscience. New believers, not knowing better, come to believe that this is what they must do to stay in “fellowship” and keep the peace, and can be totally shut down.
Through repeated rejections, Christians often come to believe that their passion and love for truth (and their opposition to that which is false) is a sign of their own intolerance, judgementalism, pride, lack of love, divisive nature and even rebellion. They hear it from other “believers” and they hear it in their own conscience.Through these accusations, the enemy tries to silence the word. Lovers of truth are easy targets for this kind of accusation, because one who loves the truth and loves the word and accuracy tends to have a very sensitive conscience. We are all sinners, and all of us have the capacity for all of these traits. One who loves the truth is even more aware of these tendencies in their heart and agrees with the judgement.
This can work against them for a while, but if they stay focused on the truth, God will use the process to purify them and bring them into clarity. As Luther said “let your sins be strong but your faith in the lamb of God be stronger.” We might recognize tendencies in ourselves that match the accusations. Let us accept these as given, but run to our refuge and exercise faith. God knows our sins and has paid for them with blood. By exercising our faith in the blood that reconciles us and establishes peace with God, we can maintain fellowship with Him although we may sometimes actually be as obnoxious as the enemy accuses us of being.
We are under God’s covering and He still wants to use us. He allows these things for our good, and uses the conflict, the accusations, the reproach, the repentance and faith to soften our hard exterior while strengthening our inward convictions.
Addressing the Accusations
It’s very important that these accusations are address for the sake of the person who has been silenced or has struggled with them. So in this next section we will see how the scriptures answer some basic questions about discernment based on accusations that I’ve experienced over the years:
1) Is it Biblical?
2) Is it divisive?
3) Is it Rebellion?
4) Is it Unloving?
5) Is it Negative?
6 By What Standard Do We Measure?
7) What about real miracles?