Being Willing to be Misunderstood
I have had public discussions in person and on social media with many people and have always tried to be very clear about what I thought the Word of God said about whatever we discussed. Sometimes, the other person did not agree.
I typically do not seek out support for my positions on these issues but am always open to hear other viewpoints. It doesn’t bother me to be disagreed with or to be wrong about things. It’s one way teachable people can learn.
I likewise don’t usually seek affirmation on what I discuss because I figure if the Lord spoke to me on it and showed me what He said in His Word….that is enough for me. His affirmation will do for me.
At times, what I said has apparently been taken out of context. I speak and write carefully, picking and choosing my words prayerfully. I almost always quote the Word of God in my comments and explain what some of the words really mean. I don’t usually use a lot of words because I believe it all speaks for itself.
To be sure, many who read what I write contact me on their own and agree that they too see the same things I see in God’s Word. Some have disagreed at times and others have downright rebuked me. I think that if I am willing to put my beliefs out there I need to be able to handle disagreements and criticism.
In our discussions I tend to keep my words to a minimum and simply try to let the Bible speak for itself. God doesn’t need for me to make a case for Him. He’s pretty secure. Also, I have no need to appear to be right in the eyes of people. I’m not arrogant about it; I’m simply at peace.
If I disagree with someone about something I believe it is possible to disagree with that person’s stance and say why I disagree without disrespecting the person. That is what I hope to do. The Body of Christ is a family and sometimes family members disagree about things but they should still be able to remain one in Christ. That is my belief and I try to live that out day by day.
So, sometimes when I let God’s Word speak I am misunderstood.
That also happens.
“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed’” (Luke 2:34)
The term “to be opposed” means “disputed, contradicted, denied and spoken against.” The Message version of the Bible, a paraphrase, puts Luke 2:34 like this:
“Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, ‘This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, a figure misunderstood and contradicted…’”
Now, in Christ, we are NOT Jesus but we ARE being transformed into the image and likeness of Him. Sometimes (hopefully, more and more consistently) we will hear the Holy Spirit clearly and when we speak as directed by Him we will sound like Jesus to others. When we do…..we will sometimes experience what Jesus experienced when He was walking the earth: some will respond graciously and be complimentary.
(It’s always good at times like that to remember that it’s really Jesus speaking to and through us and that all the glory goes to Him.)
Sometimes, though, we will become “a figure misunderstood and contradicted.”
Among Christians some of the misunderstandings and contradictions will be circumstantial. It might be a matter of a communication breakdown. Some of it will be innocent but misunderstandings will occur because one or both parties is desperate to be or to appear correct. When that is the case one’s opposite input will collide with an agenda the other might have.
Sometimes it is simply because Jesus often said (and still says) things that go against beliefs that others already have. They will, in good faith, depend upon these beliefs as foundational ideas to what they do in life, but may be incorrect. These beliefs will eventually yield bad fruit in their lives if they are, indeed, incorrect according to God’s Word. Therefore, addressing differing opinions and viewpoints is well worth the potential discomfort of doing it. It is important to note that reactions to our differing viewpoints can sometimes be shocking, hurtful or, even, malicious.
It is also important to consider the truth that we have no control over what other people do or say. We never really will. However, we ARE in control and responsible for what WE do. It is important to always remember that if we speak the things the Lord gives us to speak (or do what He gives us to do) and people take issue with that – their misunderstanding and opposition is NOT against US.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
If it is truly not I who live but Christ living in me, then when I do or say something that causes another to “come against me” they aren’t really coming against ME. Rather, they are coming against Jesus Who lives in and through me.
This being the case, I have no reason to defend myself in or after a discussion - ever.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62:5-7)
This is part of what God has given to us in Christ in a deeper way than the Psalmist could have ever dreamed.
If you ever see me justifying or strongly defending my position on anything you’ll know that I have, temporarily at least, forgotten that God is my protector. Please feel free to speak to me about it.
What I have written here today is meant to be an encouragement to allow Jesus to speak through us and do things through us without fear of what someone else might say about us or try to do to us. After all, it’s not about us – it’s about Him. He’s more than capable.
So, be bold and confident. Be willing to be misunderstood and opposed for Jesus’ sake.
See God work.
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17)
May the Lord richly bless you in all things this day.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© September 18, 2014
(For use with permission)