written on Sunday, 02.24.2019 and edited on Tuesday, 02.26.2019.
One day, I was watching a famous pastor’s sermon (I now go to Sunday church and listen to the sermons and then I watch more sermons of several pastors in my own time) and while he was preaching, he told of instances when he said a certain somebody in his church said something about being offended about a previous sermon he has said that sounded like the pastor was using his sermon to deliberately attack the person listening in amidst the congregation. And I wondered about that sometimes, like what is going on? Are these people just super sensitive or something?
So there were a couple of times when I sat in church that I went to in the past, that sounded like the pastor was attacking what I did and I felt super guilty about it. When I was an immature Christian and I knew the pastor like old friends, I used to bring it up and the pastor said he really did not mean it in such a way. And I used to conclude that maybe I am just sensitive about it. Well, I grew out of it. I stopped making it a big deal, but the “coincidences” kept happening and they still give me the sting, and I realize eventually that my ‘guilt’ is unfounded, like it shouldn’t even be there, it’s not like they were talking about sin. They were talking about things like sleeping late at night, or posting too much on Facebook and similar cultural norms of the infamous Millennial generation.
And then there were these memes on Facebook, where my friends and everybody’s neighbors and their dogs’ friends started posting on their walls, “The post is on my wall, why do you feel the sting?” and other similar posts meant to poke fun, criticism and satire to the situation, and the common explanation to this phenomenon is ultra-sensitivity.
And it is. But not the way we have been understanding sensitive emotions or getting offended easily, no it isn’t. It is the devil at work, against the work of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s say for example, I write a lot of posts about the return of Lord Jesus, and by the leading of the Holy Spirit I call others to repentance in my blog posts and I would call others to repent of everything even little things such as anger and covetousness, their love of money, gossip and others (I repent of these too, not perfect, so as I call for repentance, I myself repent of these as well). I obviously had to use a tone of voice that is similar and exemplified by the prophets and apostles because those are the best examples for me. Now, let’s say somebody reads my posts, and there are coincidental ‘buzzwords’ that is dear to some of these people, and my posts happen to speak about them negatively, so they would think that because they are my friends, so I must be targeting them and deliberately writing to make them feel guilty on a personal level. I felt that way a lot too, but shrugged it off, I’d convince myself that surely it’s coincidental. Until today.
Today is my second Sunday at a church. The pastor who preached last Sunday is the same one who preached today. He was preaching about John 10 and Psalm 23, and it was an amazing sermon that discussed about the beauty of the leadership of Jesus, and how He is our Good Shepherd. And then, there goes a ‘boom’. He said a ‘buzzword’. I wrote about this ‘buzzword’ in one of my last posts and he spoke so critically about the buzzword that I literally felt like he was using the word to attack me and my beliefs of the end times and everything that I have written on my blog and other platforms. And then I thought to myself – how would he know? Let me explain:
First, I have not met this Pastor. He does not know me personally, we have not been introduced at the time, I doubt that he even knew my name at the time. Secondly, I doubt that he has read my blog posts because it does not seem to be his cup of tea. Third, even if he did read my blog posts by random encounter, he would not have known that one of his churchgoers is the author of the post (it is just impossible). Fourth, he could not have read the particular post that has the buzzword on any other website because it was not published on it yet at the time.
So I thought to myself, what is this phenomenon that is going on and affecting a number of people albeit a small group of believers?
As I was thinking about it, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit came over me and I began to understand:
- The Holy Spirit speaks to His people – pastors, preachers, prophets, etc about certain topics for different applications. He may lead a pastor to talk about selfish businessmen and an author about good business principles. But the devil would come up and use the Achilles heel of one to be hurt by the other’s words simply because the accuser sees the Holy Spirit working in both and wants to destroy the seeds of the Holy Spirit’s work.
- The Bible says that a kingdom that is divided against itself will fall, and the devil knows the bible, even more so than the average believer (yes, this is why we need to all the more learn God’s Word), so he twists this principle to have us attack each other’s preaching and message, service and anointing and to compete with each other to the death until what is left is just wilted leaves.
- The Holy Spirit knows everything about everything, even more so than Google does, and so He would speak to us in such a way that is dear to us using buzzwords that mean a lot to each one of us. Unfortunately, the devil knows this and whenever he sees the work of the Holy Spirit, he would take up his mantle as the accuser, killer and destroyer and have his forces form a network that could rival the algorithms of Facebook and use supernatural evil resources to give blows where it would hurt the most to the saints.
- Saints who encounter these situations and are not aware of this may be frustrated and succumb to bitterness at worst and confused by the nagging pain at best.
- The devil and his forces are so good at working with each other that we need to be ever more vigilant to not allow Satan gain a foothold against the kingdom and be united in such a way that would rival his network of evil forces.
Here are the steps we can take:
1. Study the Word of God and its message. Do not just listen to sermons. Because if you only listen to sermons and others talking about the message instead of reading for yourself, the devil will take advantage of what you do not know and shake the ground you stand on.
2. Learn to encourage each other and challenge each other doing good things. If you hear rebuke and advice, test it against the Word of God. If they tell you to live a life of dying to self and not pursue materialism, but they have a house worth half a million dollars, drive cars worth a whole year’s wages, and own the newest furniture and everything, don’t listen to their advice. Especially if you yourself live in a tiny apartment and you have second hand everything.
If they tell you to live a godly life, but they themselves are addicted to drugs, don’t listen to them. They are preaching doctrines of demons, because they cannot walk their own talk. If they preach to you about humility and forgiveneness, but you do not see these things in their lives, do not submit yourself to them.
Unfortunately, for me, for most of my Christian life, I hear a lot of criticism and advice left and right constantly. Even after I have encouraged them, and support their wisdom and listened to their advice, I find that they want to preach to me about giving up about dying to self, but they have not died to self and giving up to extent I had and therefore, could not really exemplify their own preaching (It’s like a college freshman trying to teach a Senior Software Developer about Computer Science) at least to me. I’m talking about people who own homes, a lot of furniture and appliances and more than two cars and Costco/Amazon Prime/Netflix memberships telling me to live frugally and to die from materialism in my face while I don’t have any of those things, work full time and extra hours, renting a small room and only managed to get a tiny used car after riding my bike for months to and from work.
If I didn’t say anything or just said, “ok”, there are some who would hound me down just to tell me that I should humble myself. And the people who tell me that I should humble myself always comes to me when I start to go to church and God has just renewed my faith after a long dry spell, and starting to enjoy the presence of the LORD in my life and my walk with Him, and at first I tried to listen, but the more I listen the more frequent they would bombard this advice to me, and I began to see that they too have their own pride. I find myself confessing my sins (anger, bitterness, pride) more frequently and more often than others would dare to admit to me, and yet the very same people who deny that they have any sins to confess are the very ones who hound me about my pride.
There are one or two who every time they meet with me would not stop talking and would cut me off just to preach to me about humility. I would open my mouth and they would cut me off. I did not even have a chance to ask how they were doing. And they would pretend that everything is fine, despite being the very ones who championed the idea that we all should be real to one another and share our struggles. That is just hypocrisy. Why put a burden on others that you yourselves cannot handle, especially in a personal encounter? Unfortunately, that is our current culture.
It is a real problem. One that I know too well not only because I experience the turn-off. I felt turned off to church because of this “outside cup perfection but inner cup dirtiness” Pharasaical lifestyle that many live by but denying the power of God. I have met countless and countless of people who are turned off by this – young and old and gave up church, and of both majority background and minority background, those who grew up in church and grew up in godly families and that goes without saying for those who do not grow up in church or grew up in godly families. And I see that the guilty party is the Body as a whole. We are the ones who failed as a whole group.
We should have gone to God and asked Him to change us instead of letting everything passed us by until the entire nation is now normalizing everything that is abominable including LGBTQ, abortion, marijuana and drug abuse, drag culture, witchcraft and others. Witchcraft was like a myth ten years ago, when I first came to the United States. It’s a foreign country thing. Now, it’s on TV and mainstream. We have to wake up. We cannot keep letting everything pass us by so much that the next thing we know The Mark of the Beast System is implemented and we were oblivious about it.
Unfortunately, these days, a church could swing to the extremes of empty positive inspiring mumbo-jumbo of empty words or the other extreme where people are just bombarded with criticisms and even condemnation left and right and everywhere you turn. Neither is good.
But I believe, you, the Child of God, can start making the change and stir in the movement of God and bring in the gospel culture in three simple (not easy) steps:
3. Resist rebuking others personally (in their face or on their Facebook walls) unless it is heretical or destructive to them. Or they ask for your advice. Rebuke your fellow brothers and sisters if you see a husband abusing his wife (if it is bad enough, get authorities involved), or someone neglecting their household or living in disastrous sins. If they share positive inspiring words that don’t come from the Bible and they say it like it is, try to rebuke them gently (We all need to work on this one. I see this too often and I need to work on it too). Let’s challenge ourselves to strengthen our self-control from running our mouths and tones at an imperfect instance that happen such as “Hey, what kind of jeans are those? (super negative tone meant to poke fun)” or “My kids would never do that!” or “You forgot to include some real important verses in your sermon, Pastor” or “That event was fun, but the food was kind of funky”. Well, all of us are guilty of these. Let’s pick up our crosses, and confess to the LORD of these things and repent. Not only so we maybe healed but the collective Body can be healed (principle made by example by prophet Daniel in Daniel 9:1-19 which in his lifetime, God allowed Jerusalem to be rebuilt if Nehemiah 10:6 is the same Daniel).
For someone who says “murder is ok or it is acceptable to do abortion because God will understand”. You can answer them with “No, God will not understand. Sorry, but this is not true. God loves you and He does not want you to live with that regret for going against your design”, without going into their faces about the atrocity of their sins. There’s already too much of that anyway. After all, we are to hate the sin and love the sinner. We are to call out sins at the collective level and extend love at the personal level. A very good example of this is to look at the convicting messages of some of the Epistles vs. what the encouraging messages that he wrote in 1 & 2 Timothy.
It is important that we take these steps because too many people are so discouraged these days, so much so that they stopped going to church by the masses because they are hurting and all we could do is just criticizing with no offer of help that they would rather hang out and ‘fellowship’ with others at a yoga session, and they would even stop asking for prayers, or to trust God, or to even try to make friends and have real fellowship at church (obviously not all churches). Let’s all be the change and encourage one another in these End Time Days because the Bible tells us to do so, especially as we watch the Day of the Lord’s return approaches (We all agree that the Lord’s Return, no matter when it is, is closer to today than it was 2000 years ago, correct?) as described in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 10:25.