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When we are confronted
- Jacob Ninan
We acknowledge easily that we are not perfect. But we may not be conscious of the implication that we don't know everything, and that some of the things we think we know may be wrong! Those of us who are seeking to press on to perfection (He.6:1;Php.3:12) may not have thought that this process involves not only learning new things but also 'unlearning' some old things. One of the ways through which we are presented with an opportunity to become 'more perfect' is when we are confronted by other people about our faults. The one who confronts us may point out some problem with our character, behaviour, or doctrines. Like our forefather Adam after his fall, our natural tendency is to defend ourselves from having to admit that we were at fault or in error, and for this we use a lot of mechanisms. But these come in our way of becoming better people or more like Jesus.
One question that comes up in our mind at such a time is, "Who are you to tell me this?" The implication is that we are more knowledgeable, senior, experienced, qualified, or accomplished, and that the one who has confronted us has no right to question us! One who questions another will do well to ask such questions to himself before he ventures to question another. But it is absolutely irrelevant for the one who is confronted to ask such questions, even if it is only in our mind. The only thing we need to be concern with is, "Is this true what this person is telling me?" Truth is no one's monopoly and if we want to be perfect we will humbly receive all inputs that can lead us in that direction. Peter had no qualms about receiving correction, and that too publicly, from the 'upstart' Paul (Ga.2:11).
Another thought that occurs to us when we are confronted is, "What will happen to me if I agree to that?" We may think of losing our face, the opinion others will have of us afterwards, the possible loss of position if our superiors hear of it, etc. In other words, the earthly consequences of accepting the truth outweigh the blessing of moving further into the truth. This will prevent us from getting saved from error into godliness because we don't have a love for the truth in our heart (2Th.2:10). In contrast let us look at the apostles who had come to see the truth about Jesus and decided that they would rather obey God than men (Ac.4:19,20).
When we are confronted, whether by a friend or an enemy, we are faced with a choice. Will we face up to the truth (and be saved), or will we shoot the messenger? King Asa began his reign well following the example of his forefather David, doing things that were pleasing to the Lord. But when he once made a compromise by resorting to human rather than godly wisdom, the Lord sent the prophet Hanani to warn him. But Asa was enraged, and put Hanani in prison (2Ch.16:7-10).
We all make many mistakes (Jas.3:2). Certainly to admit mistakes is humiliating. But that is the way the Lord can give us more heavenly glory (1Pe.5:6).