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“Super Saints”

There are people in the body of Christ who are very serious about developing the character of Christ and who live consecrated lives.  These individuals have conquered much of the sin issues in their lives and have an anointing that they carry because of their obedience to the Father.  Favor follows them and they seem to change the atmosphere everywhere they go.  These kinds of people are rare and unfortunately subject to criticisms from fellow believers in Christ.  They are usually accused of trying to be superior to others, all because they value holiness and have a sincere reverence of the lord.  These individuals live differently than almost everyone around them and people are sometimes naturally convicted of their sin when they interact with them.  These individuals exhibit the love of Christ and go out of their way to respect others but again, people respond to these individuals out of their hurt and brokenness.  These individuals are wrongly accused of elevating themselves above others.  However, these individuals are NOT to whom the following open letter is addressed.  I have been compelled to proclaim a message to the “super saints.”  These are those who only resemble the people I just described, however, they lack humility and are part of the reason why people outside of the faith have distorted views of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  So with that being said…

Dear Super Saint,

It is admirable that you know the scriptures backwards and forwards, and I see that you are well-meaning in your proclaiming of the gospel.  You admonish those around you to be doers and not just hearers of the Word of God.  You are sold out for the cause of Christ and the church desperately needs people like you to be an example to others during these end times, but I notice that people tend to avoid you instead of being drawn to you.  Your ministry isn’t really growing or flourishing and people often feel belittled (not convicted) when they encounter you.  Now I will let you know that it is NOT the “Christ in you” or your “righteousness” that is pushing people away.  It’s simply you…

You have an OBSESSION with being right and have issues with anyone who doesn’t support your theology one hundred percent.  You communicate with people in a way that somewhat devalues them and so their experience with you is rarely ever pleasant.   What I sincerely want you to see is that you can know the Word of God like the back of your hand, yet still fail to love people the way God intended.  Whether you realize it or not, many have actually been DISCOURAGED by you in their walk with the lord instead of encouraged.  Your words have ripped people to shreds but then when people lash out at you or simply cut you off, you believe that you’re being persecuted.  I’m sorry beloved, but this is not true.  You see yourself as a “martyr” of sorts and believe that people avoiding you is somehow evidence of the anointing on your life.  You believe that people not liking you means that you’re on the right path and you often use “being a part of the true remnant” as an excuse.  You carry an aura that says “I’m the only one who is really saved,” and trust me; it stinks like rotten eggs.  I know because I have been to ministries and been around people who operate in that kind of spirit.  They don’t seem to understand that they are a detriment to the body of Christ and not a blessing.  Or other times you have compared yourself to the biblical prophets as a justification to being unpleasant towards others.  I don’t believe the prophets were intentionally nasty to people, they just stood for the truth and people wanted to stay in their wickedness.

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So beloved, please know that I am praying for you, whether or not you heed this message.  Understand that the love of the Father doesn’t manifest in the ways in which you act out.  Yes He does chastise and correct, but He does not belittle and demean.  You have become somewhat of a “spiritual bully,” when you could really be a wonderful encouragement to those around you, and I’m not talking about your friends or faithful followers (if you’re a pastor).  I believe what is really going on with you is a heart issue.  There are some serious wounds that are embedded deep in your heart and they manifest in the behaviors that I have described.  Spiritual pride is just as bad as all the other forms of pride and in some cases probably worse.  Please take a serious inventory of yourself and ask yourself the hard questions.  What is the real reason why I start debates concerning scripture?  Do I have to win every argument or debate?  Why do I always focus on what is wrong with others instead of their strengths?  These are just a few examples.  Please hear these words with an open heart and know that you are needed for such a time as this.  Get healed.  Repent.  Apologize to those whom you have hurt.  Be humble.  Then take your rightful place in the body and be the blessing you were ordained to be.

Sincerely,

The Brethren

 

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Speak the Truth in Love

How many of you have tried to receive correction from a fellow believer, but they made you feel like a total loser in the process? Have you experienced the same thing in the world? I imagine these situations would likely come up in the workplace, with friends or acquaintances, recreational activities, etc. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have come to realize that it is not just about what you are saying. It is equally, if not more important, how you say it.

Ephesians 4:14-16 14 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, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 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. (NKJV)

constructive criticism

When you give someone constructive criticism, it should be with a heart that echoes, “I love you and want to see you do better and be better.” It should always be for the best interest of the person, not your own. Unfortunately, there is something about the flesh that likes to “put people in their place.” There seems to be some twisted enjoyment in belittling others and that “I’m better than you” tone often times surfaces. I am thankful for people who are sensitive enough to go out of their way to consider other people’s feelings and emotions.

Now I know that some of you might be squirming because you might be thinking that I’m encouraging “coddling” or “sugar-coating” the issues when confronting or ministering to someone. Please be assured that that couldn’t be further from the truth. I know all too well that coddling and babying folks doesn’t work. If we love someone or at least have their best interests at heart, we tell them the truth no matter how hard it may be. These types of situations can even result in the loss of a friendship, but we have to trust the Lord even more. The Word even endorses a sharp rebuke, but it doesn’t endorse belittling and making people feel like crap.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (NKJV)

People are going to naturally be offended by the truth. We can’t do anything to control that. However, when the truth is not spoken in love, it does more damage than good. The individual who needs to hear the truth is unable to because of how it was presented to them. Whether it is a nasty disposition, a mocking/taunting attitude, unnecessary facial expressions and body language, those things can get in the way of the person hearing the truth in their hearts. In essence we actually end up trying to play the Holy Spirit and the result often times is that the person gets hurt even more than before because of how they were addressed. Now I do want to clarify that a sharp rebuke is still supposed to be done in love. The problem comes in when one talks down to people instead of talking with them. We have to remember that the truth in itself is already going to hurt them to a degree. Truth does not need our help to get its point across.

I can recall various times when I have heard pastors and ministers in church talk about people with specific issues and it didn’t feel like ministry at all. There words and taunts might have been laced with Scripture, but they did not lead to godly sorrow, which leads to true repentance. The spirit in which they operated brought on belittlement and shame. There is a huge difference between the two! It is hard to receive truth and/or correction when someone is talking down to you and treating you like you are beneath them. Sometimes you can unconsciously do this and not be aware of it. I know I have done this over the years and it was brought to my attention a number of times. Thank God I have a changed heart and now I go out of my way to make sure that I’m showing people the proper level of respect when it comes to ministering or just giving constructive criticism. From personal experience, I can receive harsh correction from someone if I believe that they are coming from a sincere and loving heart. But if someone is talking at me and making me feel like some kind of idiot or even resorting to name-calling, it becomes nearly impossible to receive what is being spoken to me. At that point, I don’t even believe that it is necessarily correction. It’s just a form of bullying.

bullying

God shows us new mercies every day. He is more than patient with us, as well as gentle with us. He will chastise and rebuke, but He never does it in a way to trash or demean us. After all, He is The Father. No father would hurt his children in that way, at least not intentionally. So let’s all follow the example of Paul and remember to do our best to speak the truth to others with a spirit of love.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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