Everyone has a right to their opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is right. John 8:32 says “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It’s the truth that sets men free. Let me add to that. It’s not just the truth that sets you free; it’s the truth you know that sets men and women free. God always has a Grace and Faith balance. There’s his part-what he has provided-grace and then there’s our part-what we must do to receive-faith.
I guess it’s fair to say that for centuries people have argued and will continue to argue over who’s right. I’m right, you’re wrong. So where is the umpire? Who and what decides what truth is. To me it’s a two fold test. Does it line up with the Word of God and does it work! Both must be true. Now obviously some things can’t be proved out in real time. For example, how do you prove that hell exists or not, you can’t because you can’t go there while you are on this earth. You have to accept it with the rest of God’s Word. I had a vision of hell, which I asked for, but that doesn’t prove hell, to me it just confirms it and makes it even realer to me. It motivates me to share my faith because I know I don’t want even my worst enemy going there. I want them to know Jesus as their savior so they don’t have to.
Bank teller training can be a good lesson for us. I have heard for years that tellers were trained to spot counterfeits not by looking for the bad bills but by knowing the good bills. Their hands get the feel of them. In other words, you don’t have to study all the false religions of the world and become an expert on them to spot when something is wrong. You just get to know the truth of God’s Word in your heart well and you will be able to spot something that just isn’t right a mile away. There is a learning curve obviously with this.
So do we know the Word? It’s a deal maker or breaker. You can’t really talk to someone who puts their opinion over the Word. They are favoring an error. They have placed their faith in something that is wrong and unless they are willing to change roads and head in the right direction they will keep going down a wrong path. Once a person gets a wrong belief stuck in their mind, it’s like trying to pry a bone out of a dog’s mouth to get them to let loose. I can think of a couple of occasions where I almost went down the wrong path to a false teaching. I was that close, and thank God, that he sent a pastor and one of my Bible College Professors to correct me in this thinking. I am so thankful that I had a teachable spirit and listened.
I do believe many times our personality and life experiences dictate our beliefs-which are a huge problem. For instance, if someone is very soft hearted they may come to this conclusion “I just can’t believe that a loving God would send someone to hell especially if they are a good person.” I understand that. The problem with that theory is this; in reality no one is a good person and we are saved by faith in Christ not by doing good works. If we are so good then why did God have to send his son Jesus to die on the cross for us? Good works should be a result of our faith not an effort to earn heaven from God. Remember this; good works are the fruit not the root.
I didn’t do much right early on in my Christian walk, but by the grace of God, I learned something that eventually paid great dividends. I choose the truth over my feelings. For example, when there was an issue with my kids at school, I wouldn’t side with them just because they were my kids. I wouldn’t throw the teacher under the wheels of the bus just so I could save my pride and justify my kid’s actions. I love my kids but I sided with truth. It really didn’t matter again who was right and who was wrong-what mattered was truth. If you don’t think what I mentioned is a problem please come and talk to my dad. He is a retired High School English teacher and has told me hundreds of horror stories about irate parents blaming him for their kid failing. He would point out the truth to them, but they didn’t want to see it. They had made their mind up before they came to the conference-who was right and who was at fault.
Some of us don’t let the Bible get in the way of what we believe! So what do you do if you are at odds with someone concerning their truth and yours? I remember hearing this story years ago. It always has impressed me, and I will share it as best as I can remember. It was about T.L. Osborne, he was overseas as a missionary in China. It finally came down to a show down about truth. He waved his New Testament in their faces and they waved their “book of truths” in his face and said to him what makes your book better than ours? In a sense they were challenging him and saying prove it. He had no comeback, no answer for them. So he came back to the United States, dejected; with his mind made up that he was going to figure this out. Out of this was born a tremendous Divine Healing Ministry.
So what do you do if someone won’t listen to the umpire’s decision you must back off and just love them and pray for them? You cannot argue someone into the truth. Let me leave you with this.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4)
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
So which one will you be??? The one who doesn’t go the way of strong Bible teaching; who just says “this is just what I believe” even though it doesn’t line up with scripture or will you be the one who has that teachable spirit. There was a noble group of people in the Book of Acts called the Bereans. There number one goal in life was to get it right; to find out what the Bible really says and to apply it to their lives. I challenge you to be a Berean. Think of the alternative!