When I was a teenager, I was full of passion for truth and righteousness.
Churches were doing lots of studies on personality types and spiritual gifts, and I was off-the-charts “justice-oriented” vs. “mercy” or “goal-oriented” vs. “people-oriented” or whatever the term for “black-and-white thinker / prophet / exhorter / teacher.”
Which is great if God has, in fact, called you to be a Bible teacher, a writer, a speaker. You have to believe in right and wrong, absolute truth. You have to love the study of His Word (theology). You have to be discerning, you have to question, you have to know what you believe and why – and then when you know, commit yourself to it fully.
And I did.
But being young and full of zeal, I also had a fair amount of pride and self-righteousness. I shook my head over some passages of Scripture, incredulous at the sinfulness and rebelliousness of God’s people.
I was born too late to protest any of those cultural issues that were so protestable in the 60s and 70s. But I loved to protest the culture of hypocrisy, apathy, and complacency in the Church – which I knew from the inside out, because I was practically born on a pew.
I could identify these and other issues (like flawed logic, faulty thinking, lack of faith, unsound doctrine, misunderstanding or misapplication of Scripture, ignorance of history) with lightning speed.
I was quick to point out these things whenever and wherever I saw them, and I genuinely meant to be helpful. (If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t fix it, right?) So I genuinely expected people to be grateful.
I’m laughing now as I write this… laughing and cringing.
I had to learn from a lot of really painful experiences, that first and foremost it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict others of sin or error. Not mine, not yours. Nothing anyone else says or does can change another’s heart, unless they have been