2 Corinthians 11:3-4
11 But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, or a different gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough!
1 John 4:1
One thing that tops the chart for me as something I detest is being lied to. We can excuse deceptive behavior by calling it a white lie or giving it a righteous spin by saying it protects the one being deceived, but it is far more painful to discover the truth later on than to face the truth from the beginning.
Lies have a way of growing over time and the harm done to the deceived multiplies in intensity, as well. Deception is evil, yet we can play a role in willingly allow it without noticing and the church can be one of the most affected.
We do not want to be judgmental, but we can be lulled into lies by believing the best in the name of grace – without discernment. The religion of tolerance has slipped into the church and mouths are silenced by the theme of acceptance to all. This might at first blush seem exclusive, until we see that there are absolutes in God’s Word. Living in a relativistic world where anything goes allows evil to thrive silently.
God will grant us wisdom to recognize false doctrines if we ask Him. Motivation to be purposeful in discernment concerning the newest revelation comes from a desire to maintain a pure devotion to Christ. To “put up” with false beliefs is to accept them. Over time the convictions we held can be replaced by whitewashed “enlightened” viewpoints if we aren’t careful to hold on firmly to the true Gospel.
We are not called to be pious, self righteous or judgmental, as we are reminded that we have blind spots, too. But we are not called to compromise, either, in the name of grace. Grace is undeserved favor, but it does not placate or permit someone to remain in sin. Finding balance between abusing grace in the name of liberal freedom and strict adherence to fundamentalism that imposes expectations beyond the written word is challenging, but not impossible.
No one has perfect doctrine, but we all continue to grow in our understanding and relationship with God. Some beliefs we have held onto need to be debunked if they do not line up with the Word of God and some need to be held onto tenaciously. God is faithful to speak to us through His Holy Spirit and to guide us into all truth. We have a choice whether we are going to allow ourselves to be deceived or be like the Bereans, searching out God’s truth.
The church needs to speak the truth with grace. May we endeavor to do so passionately, but never let go of love in the process. If the church becomes just like the world in the name of tolerance, we lose our effectiveness and souls, as well.
Lord, forgive us for our lackadaisical compromise. We are so needful of You to open our eyes to see our own hypocrisy. Wake us up to zealously cling to Your Word and help us to not tolerate sin but to love the sinner.