Who? Stephen. What? Attacked by other leaders in the church. Hmmmmm.
We once learned that we as believers need to shed the light of Jesus. And when others from within the body speak badly through lies who do we handle them? Especially when it is directed towards our own personal walk with the Lord. I need to learn as well to bridle my tongue. Why? because it is growing pain lessons, "they will know us by our LOVE!"
Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
I Peter 2:24 " 'He Himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed'."
Early in our ministry we were challenged by another godly man whom was an elder. As well as encouraged, "I would choose a man with a heart after God's own heart than for a man who had a knowledge for God any day." I am very Thankful for a very godly man, Donald "DON" Raymond, who taught us, me many vital lessons since 1988. But the most important, to Stand on the ABSOLUTE TRUTH of God's word. Live it with passion. And I thank many another pastor(s) who taught us in our beginning but particularly in our tenth year of ministry at two different Leadership conference(s) of the danger of pastors tearing down other pastor especially within their own 'circles'. Humble men of God, Jehovah. Hearts that did and still do have a heart after God's own heart. Men whom reduplicated humble godly leaders and still are learners who excel those under their leadership while passing the baton for kingdom glory.
Hypocrites? By definition is A play actor. Aren't we all? For when we all come to the church it is really because it is a 'hospital for the heart'. The place where the Lord only can truly work, 'operate', mend and heal properly.
See, It is very hurtful when people teardown one another any time in life. That is very worldly behavior. For that matter very easy. It is simple to live in the flesh. However as saints, it is hard when any man or believers and leaders, during our fleshly moments of insecurities; such as the root of envy or possibly even jealous moments, tear down another man with 'lies' to puff oneself up better than another 'man' within the same profession, especially for the ones of saving souls. Especially when those same men talk ill of another. When it is ever right to lie? Never.
Here is what I am learning. Boldness comes when it offends my Lord. Eventually lies and envious words will come to surface. And maybe, just maybe more of us like Jesus himself can and will ask the Lord, Father, God to "FORGIVE THEM for They know not what they are doing!" So the next time the tongue decides to desire to lash out with any form of venom. Stop. Think. Go to scripture. "What would 'I' do if someone treated 'me' this way and spoke about me this way?" CHOICES! I choose to seek others who lift others up than tear others down publically. The choice to choose different CIRCLES whom edify others and celebrate successes.
So today I FORGIVE a group of "men" (english, grammatically speaking) for speaking hurtful opioins and ways because the Lord himself has asked me to through His example. A student and love learner of Jesus Christ still desiring to walk with Him.
1 Peter 3:15-17
New International Version (NIV)
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.