So, I just wrote about controversial things, and a friend commented:
Please write more especially on the relation to the overlap of courage, fear, wisdom, and dying to self with that “non-person” phenomenon.
I will explain my own progression in these areas and include insights from my husband that helped me along the way. (It helps me organize by thoughts by numbering ideas, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a distinct progression.)
- Logical arguments mean almost nothing…. This lesson took years. I used to participate in a forum that discussed ideas, issues, etc. And the major life lesson I took away from that experience is that truth or rightness of itself doesn’t win people over. Logic has it’s limits. We are not at all solely logical beings. A winsome expression of the truth, a pleasant personality, general respect for others, self-effacement– these are the factors that tend more to win the day. Hopefully they are combined with truth.
- “Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.”
- Truth somehow becomes untruth if it’s used as a club or means to beat people down– I think because the non-verbal message is untrue to God’s nature.
- I went through a number of years when I was in an emotionally hostile environment due to some church issues. My husband, a pastor, became the main pastor of our church in a time of personal and public crisis for others in church leadership.
- During this time of hostile environment, I was personally having my most blessed insights about “opinion” matters.” However, sharing this was even openly attacked, so I became basically silent. For the sake of greater issues/hurts in our church and because certain key hearts were closed, I mostly remained silent. For years. My outlet was my former blog.
- However, I realized that God didn’t always approve of silence. Silence is comfortable to a point. But God didn’t make us to be creatures of silence, and there were potentially harmful opinions being loudly propagated.
- I wasn’t silent all the time. There were moments I could speak appropriately and I used them on rare occasions.
- So, I realized that my “opinion” (personal leadings/lessons/insights from God) were to bless others in my influence. That doesn’t mean others will do what I do, but as a person in leadership, I am a unique individual whom God leads in specific ways, and the cumulative effect of that will have a general influence.
- One lesson from Vitaliy’s evangelism: Look for open hearts. And be a person around whom hearts can open. Or a person with a skill/knack to opening hearts.
- I had to really clarify my opinion to become a more universal truth. I had to not become stuck on certain practices or outward showings of a truth. I had to state the truth. Example: the truth is that you should love your child. –That is a very deep and searching truth. I can’t “preach” the methods of loving because anyone can do a wide variety of actions and have love or indifference. But I can share wisdom insights, some specifics, etc.
- Also from Vitaliy: My opinions or ways of doing things have a particular result in my own life because of who I am, my personality, my character, my resources and situation. But just prescribing those opinions/actions to others results in a wide variety of outcomes — because those people are very different from me in a multitude of ways. They will not get the result I get by just copying me.
- However, I focused on my example and living out the truth: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Others should be able to look at my life and be able to copy my faith, though the external actions may and will differ.
- Pray. It really is the Holy Spirit who changes an opinion, assuming all sides (truths, opinions, info, etc) are known. All I can “do” is not to make my opinion or belief (or the truth itself) malodorous to others by my obnoxiousness, snobbery, self-righteousness, pride, truth-beating, etc. Prayer also changes me and re-aligns me to Jesus as the salvation of mankind, not the “salvific” (surely! right? ) effect of my opinions.
- And when the Spirit grants open hearts (and after years, He amazingly did this!) there will be the fruit in others’ lives that God wants. And that’s more important than just winning some type of following.
- P.S. I try to re-examine my opinions periodically and ask God if He wants me to change in any of these areas.
- There’s something I may be forgetting, but that’s it for now 😉
- About the loud people who easily spout their opinions: don’t assume they have an overwhelming influence because they’re loud or because they easily talk about their opinions/beliefs, and because they silence others. God knows how to limit influences. Pray He will do so, and that He will be able to do so in positive ways.
- If you have a major opinion/belief conflict with the/a/another leader, tread carefully. Sometimes, for the sake of greater issues of unity, there are reasons God wants us to be OK with not making a big deal out of something. It’s very situational. Like, I would probably never join the church whose pastor actively promotes something I strongly disagree with. I could convince myself, for example, that oh surely people need to hear another opinion, so I should join that church and fulfill that role…. Really? I’m not there to humbly learn, but to teach? …. Now, if it’s something I or that leader gradually grew into our out of, and we’re already both members, I don’t know what I would do. It depends on the culture and situation and God’s leading. I’m not for church-leaving. But God also extremely values overall unity in the church (in the general emphasis of the body’s glorifying Christ).
- Also from Vitaliy: If you are truly interested in blessing that Other Person (or group of people), ask God what HE is doing in that other person’s (group’s) life. Then pray to join that work (even if it’s only in prayer). Your Issue #1 might be issue #8 or #22 on God’s priorities for that person.