April 12, 2011
I can hardly bear the tattling any longer. The second I correct one of my children, they try to nail their brother or sister for a related offense. It is wearing me down. Why do my children want to throw each other under the bus so callously? They take no thought of how ugly they’re revealing themselves to be in their selfish agenda. In a flash, my simple correcting moment has lured me in to be judge, jury, exposer of hearts—but mostly tired, annoyed, and ready to give up. I never seem to be getting anywhere in the “can’t we all just get along” department. Of course, as a parent I know that they’re all guilty. As a Christian parent, I need to get to the heart issues and apply the gospel to these situations. So as I was having a venting session with myself, I realized that this can still be an issue in adulthood. Since we do know its ugliness, we indict our peers in a more clever way. In trying to disguise the rank stench that it is, we become like the accuser, the devil himself. We manipulate, appealing to the desire of those we would like to assuage to our position. Even as Christians, we may slap a righteous veneer on a cause to promote our own glory. Thankfully, God has already dealt with all destructive prosecuting in the work of Christ. Revelation 12 describes Christ’s victory over the accuser in his death and resurrection:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered them by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you and he knows that his time is short!” (7-12)In these verses I am encouraged that in Jesus full atonement has been made for my sin. The Kingdom of God has been ushered in, and the accuser has no leg to stand on (that’s funny when we think of the serpent) in his tattling because, as the great hymn goes: My sin—O the bliss of this glorious thought!—my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! Even if God were to grant that ancient serpent back the authority to accuse, it would be meaningless. Our ransom has been paid, and not only that, the righteousness of Christ is imputed on all believers. He grants us the faith to see his grace, and begins the great work of transforming us into the image of his Son. With that knowledge, my life can now be lived in praise and service to the One who has rescued me from my sin! And here is where the fine art of discernment comes in. As we mature in our Christian journey, we know that for truth to be truth, there are going to be people that we need to point the finger toward. We are going to be offended and even get tangled in sin ourselves as we wait for that glorious day of our consummation. We learn in Matthew 18: 15-20 how to handle being sinned against. First, we should go to the offender, ready to offer forgiveness as we confront them in love. We are not to involve others unless that person is obstinate. When we think of how Christ has covered our shame, it should ameliorate our pain from minor offenses that others may do to us. And yet there is a time to speak out against someone. Paul publicly rebukes Peter for not [being] straightforward about the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:14). In public ministry it is necessary to speak out publically against false teaching for the sake of the gospel. We should not sit quietly when the truth is at stake, but we still need to use discernment in our approach. Our conduct in all these situations should be worthy of the gospel. It sure isn’t easy and we are told in the above Scripture from Revelation that the devil is clamoring out his evil works now because he knows his time is short…which takes me back to my hymn: Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed his own blood for my soul.