Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Choose To Listen To The Truth

 My Proverbs 31 devotion last week about spiritual warfare apparently hit a nerve.

So many people all over the world are struggling with attacks from the enemy in all different forms, and it blessed my heart to read that so many are committed to trusting God in their circumstances.

However, as I read through all the comments, two things became abundantly clear......1) Satan does not discriminate, and 2) he has an infinite arsenal of tools to attack people's hearts.

In some cases, he uses challenging personal relationships to discourage us. He may use health, employment or financial difficulties. At other times, he uses addictions, abuse or self condemnation. And at times, he even uses people.

Unfortunately, all too often, the enemy works through broken people to hurt others physically, resulting in the horrific amount of abuse, violence and murder in our society today. But sometimes he uses more subtle tactics. Tactics that cause wounds that are invisible to the human eye.

Tactics as simple as a person's words.

Over the past few months, I have had several comments posted on my blog from someone who obviously knows my family personally, but who posts their comments as 'anonymous' - because their comments are not very kind. Comments that not only attack me and my faith, but also my children.

I will admit - it hurts to have your integrity and your faith questioned. It stings for someone to say negative and mean things - especially when someone's comments move beyond us, and onto attacking our families as well.

But as my thoughts and emotions stirred, rather than get upset, I chose to pray. I prayed for God to fill my heart with His reassurance, rather than allowing the words of a broken person to shake my confidence. I prayed for Him to help me respond in the right way. I prayed to forgive. And then I prayed for my accuser, because I know that 'hurt people', hurt people.

As my prayers floated up to heaven, God opened my eyes to see what was really going on. You see, these were not just words spoken by an anonymous person, but tools of the enemy in an attempt to make me discouraged. These were not mere verbal attacks, but spiritual attacks - exactly as I had talked about in last week's devotion.

I looked up the verses again in Ephesians 6:10-12, which tells us our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers of the unseen world. I also looked up Galatians 1:10 for comfort, which says,  "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."  (NIV)

What peace it brings knowing that God doesn't expect us to please everyone - only Him. He knows how imperfect we all are, yet He loves us anyway. And He knows that we will we mess up at times, but He always promises forgiveness, and unconditional love and acceptance.

In life we will always encounter people who criticize and judge, and their harsh words may cause us to feel discouraged and condemned.  But what I have learned over the years is that constructive criticism is something we all need and should value; honest, heartfelt words that can help us mature and learn. But destructive criticism never comes from God.

Maybe a parent spoke harsh words to you as a child which have haunted you ever since.  Maybe a spouse has criticized you and made you feel "less-than". Maybe a co-worker, an in-law, or a former friend ridiculed you and it's been difficult to forget the pain they caused.

Friends, let's remember this. When we feel hurt by the thoughtless words of a broken person, we always have two choices:
                    * we can seek and embrace God's truth in the midst of the criticism, and remember that
                      we are precious and honored in His sight
                   * we can listen to false truths of our accusers, giving them authority over our hearts and
                       succumbing to the enemy's lies to make us feel discouraged and worthless

I choose to seek God's truth. What about you? 

Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (NIV)

Choose To Listen To The TruthSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Te! said...

The enemy does use broken ones to attack us.. I started to write out what has happened to myself and family these past two weeks but why give glory to my enemy.. The feelings I have I know I'm not alone in because I hear lots of complaints from friends about their sister in laws and the best weapon we have against spiritual warfare is prayer so I am starting a new blog that chronicles a years worth of prayers directed towards HER... Because truth is she is broken and she is lost and the only way I can overcome my hurt is to pray for her.. I'm not called to like her... I'm called to LOVE her.. Your blog and words are a life line thank you...

Donna McBroom-Theriot said...

I always read your emails when I get them, but do not always have the time to comment. I loved this one and it really spoke to me. Donna

I love Te's response too - I'm not called to like her. I'm called to Love her.

Leigh F. said...

Thank you so much for this post. Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with my 9 year old daughter how she cannot let hurtful words doubt who she is and how much God loves her. I will use some of your post to talk to her some more!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tracie, this is truly powerful, we have a choice - we can NEVER forget who we are. I love the scripture you ended with. May we always pray for the people satan uses to come against us and not attack them. Blessings to you.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Tracie,

It's nice to peak back into your blog and your thoughts. Thank you for this reminder about the difference between destructive and constructive criticism. My choice is to bring it to God, humbly ask him for discernment, and choose to respond kindly either way. That's hard sometimes :)

Have a great week.

Jennifer Dougan

Debbie said...

Satan knows where we are most vulnerable. Twice he planned an attack against me and I almost didn't see it. Quite a bit of damage was done before it was over. Since then I do what I can to deter him. Anytime I have negative thoughts I start praying about it specifically. I pray all day but some things require more prayer. I surround myself with Godly women, stay in the word and be obedient. I know I mess up and will continue to do so but I try to keep my eyes on Jesus. Thank you for this important message.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tracie, for your wise words. I found your website recently and I have been encouraged and blessed. I look forward to "getting to know you" better through your blog and your site. Peace and grace to you!