Question:

Hello,

I was writing because I've read some of your articles and found them helpful and appreciate all that you do. There is one thing that is not a big problem, but I see when you write some of the answers to questions you come off rude to a couple of people, and I know I don't like stupid people too but it sounds like you are tearing some of the people down. Do not misunderstand me, Iím not saying stop correcting people but try to be more loving in the way you do it.

Example:

Q: I just have one thing to say. Why then does God say that He can not face sin? Do you then deny that Jesus Christ died for our sins, because you said it makes you uncomfortable to think that God would forsake His own Son? What about the fact that Jesus said that "Not one jot or one tittle will pass away until every word of prophecy is fulfilled"? I'm very confused, you claim to know the Bible, to be part of La Vista's Church of Christ but how can you call yourself a Christian and yet twist the very essence of Who the Gospel is like this? I'm ashamed, very ashamed! I still do love you in Christ but I'm begging you, please, please see how far you have fallen into this and repent, repent of this and begin again, please!

You replied with Yes, you ought to be ashamed for several reasons. ... and went on to list these reasons.

Now I do not know the situation so I have no idea but from an outsider's perspective it was a little harsh. Not saying you were wrong in doing that just I would have felt hurt and been less open to your ideas if I was in this persons shoes. I love all that you do for Christ and his church and I believe you know God's Word, and I am thankful for having men out there that are committed to what God's Word teaches us.


Answer:

What you missed is that the person writing purposely lied about what I said to make her point. Noticed also that she had already made up her mind that I was a false teacher and lost in sin. Since this was her first note to me, notice as well that she never asked for clarification on any matter. She chose to initiate a conversation with a confrontation and condemnation.

Solomon stated, "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes" (Proverbs 26:5). One size answers do not fit all people. The tone has to be adjusted to the person. This person pretends to be "confused" but is willing to say "see how far you have fallen into this and repent." Those two phrases are not compatible; in fact, it is another example of a lie.

Next, note how people like John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul dealt with people who thought they could slander another person's reputation simply because they disagreed with what was being taught. John told the Pharisees, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matthew 3:7). Paul told Elymas, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:8). Take a look at Jesus: Intolerant, Confrontational, and Exclusionary. I'm not anywhere close to being in these people's class, but I do note that there are times when strong words are required.

Paul told Timothy that to use three different methods of teaching: "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (II Timothy 4:3-5).

  • Convince (elegcho): To convict, to tell someone their fault, to make a legal argument, to expose sin.
  • Rebuke (epitimao): To rebuke, to warn, to censure or punish.
  • Exhort (parakaleo): To call near, to invite, to comfort.

Each of these style are needed in different situations. Knowing when to apply a particular style comes with experience, but also different people will prefer a certain style. None of them are wrong. If you had received the letter, you would have chosen a different tactic than I did. That is fine. But you need to realize that the tactic I used with this woman wasn't wrong either. My experience has been that it is more likely to get a person like to this to think.

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly and for backing up what you said with sound doctrine and your right there are multiple ways to handle that situation and you chose the way you saw fit. There was nothing wrong in what you said to the lady it was just if a non-Christian saw this discussion would they see her as attacking you or would they be more apt to blame you, the Christian, and say you were being hateful to her.

Now, on the other hand, I am in total agreement with you on that some people need to be taught in a certain way and I hope someday that as I gain experience that I can apply these method when appropriate.

"Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch"" (Matthew 15:12-14).

On of the reasons for posting my answers is so that others can see examples of different ways to handle different situations. When answering a person, you focus on what that person needs most, not what some uninvolved third-party might think is best.