At one time or another, every one of us has been the recipient of bad counsel from a fellow Christian. It can be a tough thing to swallow advice tainted with inaccuracies, hurtful words, or false assumptions. We all know what our default response is to such counsel. We might get angry at their intrusiveness, be discouraged by their hurtful tone, or even be judgmental toward their judgmentalism. But is there a way to receive bad counsel in a such a way that is beneficial, not only for you, but also for your fellow Christian?
By ‘bad counsel,’ I am not referring to false teaching or heretical counsel which rejects Jesus Christ and his Word. This counsel must be utterly rejected. I’m referring to counsel delivered by a Christian brother or sister that might come across as judgmental, hypocritical, ‘legalistic,’ or insensitive. I understand that there is a time and place to lovingly confront such counsel, but how can we actually benefit from it? Here are four ways that you can make the most of a less-than-ideal counseling situation.
Have you ever read your Bible and come across something that bothered you? Something that made you uncomfortable? Something you disagreed with? I hope you have.
Many people mistakenly assume that everything they read in their Bibles should line up with how they see the world. God should behave the way they expect him to, and in ways that make them comfortable. But God is a person with a mind and a will, just like you and I. And since no two humans see the world the same way, and no two humans come to the same conclusions, why would we expect to agree with God on everything he has said or done?
Elias Keach was a 17th century pastor’s kid - the son of the respected Baptist minister, Benjamin Keach. Benjamin Keach was known for introducing hymn singing in Baptist churches, writing a catechism, and preceding the pastoral ministry of Charles Spurgeon. But Elias didn’t adopt his parents’ religion. Forsaking their beliefs, he left London to go to the American Colonies in 1689. In this new environment, he became known as the son of the famous Benjamin Keach, which brought him great admiration and respect. Taking advantage of this, Elias would wear clergy outfits, posing as a man of God. Although he played the part well, his heart was far from God.
Back in 1978, Jim Jones brought the members of his People’s Temple to Guiana, South America and instructed them to commit suicide. 780 of them drank poison kool-aid following a false prophet. I pastor in Indiana and recognize that Jones’s roots actually travel back to my state. Jones was actually born in Indiana and started his cult there before moving it to California. Such tragedies make national headlines, but unfortunately it is unlikely that many who are following false prophets and false teachers today will be warned by the headlines.
Social Media is a never-ending conversation. People from all around the globe connect via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (the list goes on) to share ideas, argue for positions, document daily life, or just share relevant memes and GIFs on every single post they can find.
Sadly, even for Christians, social media is typically a nasty place. It’s as if Christians have decided that Scriptural principles of communication don’t extend to the internet. They’ll be friendly to their next door neighbor, but spew hateful, hurtful words online.
Does your online testimony line up with Scripture? Here are 10 Proverbs that should guide our use of social media:
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