No one has ever accused me of being shy. I usually say what’s on my mind which often reveals my ignorance. You would be surprised to know however, that I have always struggled with “approval of man” issues and have often avoided confrontation to stay “friends” with someone who is either toxic to my wellbeing or in desperate need of direct Biblical counsel. In either case, my disobedience has not served me well. I have often continued in a toxic relationship, as if I thoroughly enjoyed the company of people who were incredibly negative, used me for something they could gain, or just plain needed me to pump their ego every other day. Other times, I have seen people close to me go through some very difficult consequences from their walking in darkness. And I stood by in silence, worried they would be angered if I grabbed them from speeding train and threw them on the ground.
I often rationalize, “Who am I to tell them what they should do? No one asked my opinion. What if they don’t like me anymore?” painting myself into the proverbial corner in the “approval of man” room.
Lately God has been refining this out of me. I have begged Him to let me hold on to my go-to reaction which is usually a blank smile, a nod and a mumbled, “Oh really? well isn’t that interesting?” in reply to someone sharing their plans of destruction with me. Don’t rock the boat. I love to be loved, but it’s a cowardly way to live.
The difference is timing. God’s timing to be exact. The difference is minding my business, and letting God mind mine. When He speaks to me, I speak, and only then.
In a postmodern world full of seeker-friendly ministries that aim to engage without offending, speaking truth can get lost in the shuffle. What’s more, most believers associate truth with offensive, bullying tactics or nosey, gossipy neighbors who run and tell.
But God instructs us to “speak the truth in love.” And so we do….
……and it is difficult
…….and we feel inadequate
……..and we are rejected
but then, when satan tempts us to doubt our obedience, the Whisperer says, “Good job my child, I am well pleased.”
And we find that the approval of man is not nearly so urgent as the approval of the Christ, and I am His image bearer.