You're too harsh
Every now and then I receive email from visitors to my website. On a few occasions the purpose of the email has been to let me know that the sender believed that I am too harsh. They felt that I came across as judgmental and arrogant. They told me that I would "get more bees with honey." To that person and to any person who believes that my website is a place of arrogance and harsh judgments, I would like to share this with you:
First and foremost, if you will read my testimony, you will see that I truly do not believe that I am anyone special. I am no better than anyone else. I am ashamed when I think of the sins that I have committed: murder, lying, fornication, stealing, and witchcraft, just to name a few. I would not and do not look down upon anyone no matter what they have done. How could I? I am the same, if not worse, than they are. It is not with Pharisee-like pride that I share God's Word with the world. It is with the heart of the publican, standing afar off, who smote his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." I do not rejoice that anyone is made sorry by something they read on my site, but I do pray that their sorrow would lead to repentance. As Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 4:14, "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you." The purpose of my site is not to shame anyone or to be judgmental towards anyone, but to be a portal where the whole counsel of God is shared.
And I realize that in this era that we are living in, churches have moved away from preaching hell-fire and brimstone. We are living in a time when it is more politically and religiously correct to speak on Jesus' love and forgiveness. But does that mean that we are to ignore the Lord's other instructions in the bible that tell us that we are also to use Scripture to warn, rebuke, advise, and reprove people of their sinfulness? Should verses such as these below not be followed:
2 Timothy 4:1-4, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
Luke 24:47, "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
1 Timothy 5:20, "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."
Ephesians 5:11, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (To stand by silently for fear of "judging" is having fellowship with the thing you are afraid to speak out against. The bible says to REPROVE unfruitful works of darkness.)
Colossians 1:28, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"
Reader, it is the Christian man or woman's duty to speak out against sinfulness, and that is what I am trying to accomplish with my website. Ultimately I want to be able to state this: "Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27). And while I am declaring ALL THE COUNSEL OF GOD (not just love, forgiveness and mercy), some person might be offended by what they read at my website. Someone might believe that one of my articles sounds harsh. But, again, it is up to me (and anyone who calls themself a Christian) to be a good watchman and to make sure that people are warned of the seriousness of sin. If you or I are not sharing all of God's Word, that would be a dereliction of our duties. Ezekiel 3:18 and 33:8 tell us this. It reads: "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." So with all of that being said, I will never cease from warning the wicked men and women of this world of their sinful ways. I am doing it to save someone's life!
Does this mean that we should never share the good news of forgiveness of sins, Jesus' shed blood which leads to salvation, or God's love for the lost? Of course not. But our words must match our listener. And we must give them ALL of the facts and not just a couple verses. And the Lord gives us a spirit of discernment. We should be able to tell if someone is sincerely seeking the Lord with an open heart of sorrow and longing or if that person is rebellious and arguing and trying to hold on to their pet sins. Then we share the Gospel accordingly. And if it is a situation where large crowds are together and it is not a one-on-one situation, make it a point to share God's Word in such a way that every person will be reached no matter what state their heart is in. But, again, we must not be in such a hurry to tell people about the glories of heaven that we neglect to warn them about the dangers of going to hell. I cannot tell people about God's great mercy if I haven't first shown them that they have broken God's law and deserve judgment. How can I preach deliverance to the captives if that captive person was not first shown that they were a slave to sin?
Unfortunately, many churches and many individuals refuse to declare the whole counsel of God. They want to put on the bandage without ever making a cut. They believe that God's Truths are too harsh, and they would rather not run the risk of offending any of their attendees or acquaintances. They are busy shouting, "Peace, Peace," when there is no peace. Yes, you might get more bees with honey, but we are not dealing with bees. We are talking about people's souls here. This is a matter of eternal life in heaven or eternal suffering and torment in hell. Will the blood of these people be on your hands?
God has given us many examples in His Word of how we are to reach this dying world. The things the following men said and did may seem harsh, but lives were transformed because of their boldness and obedience in preaching. Here are just a few examples:
- God wants us to be like Jonah, who was told to "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me." (Jonah 1:2)
- God wants us to be like John the Baptist who boldly told all people to repent for the kingdom of God is near. John also shared powerful words such as these: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." John's boldness in preaching the WHOLE counsel of God led to him being beheaded because an adulteress woman found his words too harsh.
- God wants us to be like the prophet Isaiah whom the Lord gave these instructions: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (Isaiah 58:1).
- God wants us to be like Stephen who was unafraid to tell the crowd this: "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Then Stephen reminded them that they had persecuted and slain the prophets. Stephen called the crowd betrayers and murderers. He said that they had received God's law, but had not kept it. Stephen was stoned for speaking out against sin. I guess the masses found his words too harsh (Acts 7:51-60).
- God wants us to be like Nathan who was unafraid to speak out against King David's adultery (2 Samuel 12:1-15).
- God wants us to be like Ezra who was unafraid to tell the congregation that they had transgressed by "taking the strange wives" and that they must separate themselves from the people of that land (Ezra 10:10-11).
- God wants us to be like Jesus! Yes, Jesus showed love, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to the masses, but He also spoke out against sin and warned of hell. Jesus told the people how God wanted them to live. Jesus preached repent or perish. He spoke on there being division amongst household members. Jesus called the religious leaders a generation of vipers, hypocrites. He overthrew the moneychangers' tables. Many people even turned from following Jesus because they found His teachings too harsh. And you know what the masses ultimately did to the Lord -- They had him crucified.
In closing, let me just say that the prophets and disciples of Jesus' day (and Jesus Himself) were not persecuted because they told people, "God is love." No, they were persecuted because people found their biblical truths harsh. People did not want to have a light shined upon their sin so they tried to silence the messengers. But sin left unchecked will only fester and grow. And God is still looking for people who are unafraid to be His watchmen and tell people not just what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Fellow Christians, we must not become worldly and politically correct. We must love people enough to share all of God's Word with them, even the harsh parts. It is our Christian duty.