A few years ago, I read a post by a hugely popular blogger. I had an issue with his message. But before I go into what this blogger had said, let me give you a little background about me. I am not a confrontational person. Some people like and thrive on contention. I am not one of them. In fact, I am someone who shies away from confrontation.
When I first got married, I used to get my husband to return unwanted items because it seemed shop assistants picked up on my reluctance and even though I was within my rights to return the item or change my mind, I’d end up returning home with the said unwanted item. Over the passing years, I’ve had to learn to be firm and assert my right to return unwanted goods. I still don’t like doing this, but have grown better at it.
Now I tell you this, so you know that I’m not the sort of person to put my head above the parapet willingly. But in this situation where the blogger had made a sweeping generalisation, I felt that it was only right I should do so.
In the end I did not. Was I being cowardly? I hope not! But I struggled with my motives for wanting to confront him and especially in front of his following and so I erred on the side of caution and restraint.
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
However, my issue with what had been said remains. And today, because I have no axe to grind, and because this blogger is no longer on the scene, I feel I can safely share my thoughts without causing offence.
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
Fellow bloggers, followers and visitors – lend me your ears!
I am standing upon my virtual soapbox because I wish to be a voice for the voiceless. I want to speak up today on behalf of a group of people whom I believe have been unfairly accused.
Why should I feel the need to defend such people?
You do well to ask!
A post I’d read some time ago made certain sweeping statements, which I felt had the potential to offend. In a nutshell, the writer declared that anyone who fails to read their Bible every day does not love the Lord!
Now, I am not speaking up for anyone who may have been upset by the post in general, or offended by certain provocative comments made within that post. I am speaking up for those who fall into the unfortunate category of not being in a position to read their Bible daily, because of extenuating circumstances.
To be fair, this blogger later defended his stance by saying the post was directed at his readers. However, I do not believe this is a satisfactory defence. When Jesus spoke to his disciples, or to the people gathered around him whilst he delivered his Sermon on the Mount, if what he said was only for the ears of the people to whom he was speaking at the time, then we may as well tear out the pages of the four gospels in our Bibles, because his message does not apply to us. And if the insight and wisdom shared by the apostle and overseer St Paul, was for those early churches alone, then we can ignore most of the New Testament.
To my mind, “anyone”, or “anybody” means any person (present or not) and I believe if someone makes a sweeping generalisation and uses the word “anyone” they are speaking not only to their direct audience but also to all others who potentially come within the category referred to—in this case, “anyone who calls themselves a Christian, yet does not read their Bible every day” (I hope you are following me).
As mentioned above, I want to be a voice for those people to whom this uncompromising statement may apply but who have extenuating circumstances. But before I proceed, let me first set the record straight regarding what this blogger deems to be the demonstration of our love for God.
Jesus himself laid down the criterion for demonstrating our love for Him and for our Heavenly Father. That criterion is obedience.
If you love me, keep My commandments.
(John 14:15 NKJV)
So, obeying God’s Word (not daily reading of it), is what has been determined as the benchmark against which we must measure ourselves, should we require proof, or wish to demonstrate to the One whom matters, that we do indeed love Him!
Now back to the blogger’s unfair charge.
Bearing his stated opinion in mind, let’s consider the following groups of people to which his statement could apply, and whom I wish to defend.
Voiceless persons: (Category 1 – the illiterate)
Can this charge be fairly applied to individuals who cannot read?
There was one such person in a church I attended a long time ago. I recorded a tape of certain scriptures for this new convert to listen to, so that the individual could be encouraged and grow as a Christian (this was before the Bible on tape/CD became popular!). I’m pleased to report that this person did eventually learn to read and became a committed believer and staunch supporter of his local fellowship.
In a context such as the one above, how does this blogger’s statement stack up? Would (should) anyone dare to question this brother’s love for, or commitment to God because he was illiterate and therefore not able to read his Bible daily?
Voiceless persons: (Category 2 – the Bible-deprived)
Moving on, let’s consider our brothers and sisters in Christ, who live in places that are hostile towards the gospel, who live in a context where (if they are fortunate) they may only have one Bible per local church between them.
In such circumstances, can we point a finger and say they do not love the Lord?
I say we cannot bracket such people together with those who are “Word-rich”, who have access to, and probably own several versions of the Bible.
Voiceless persons: (Category 3 – the persecuted)
Finally, let’s not forget those who are persecuted for their faith in God, who are presently languishing in a prison cell because of their love for the Lord. Let us not forget that whilst they sit in their dark dungeons they are not able to read their Bibles daily.
Of such people, I can only hope and trust that whatever scriptures they committed to memory before their incarceration will be a source of great comfort, peace and strength to them during their trials and, I sincerely hope that those of us who are free to attend church, read our Bibles and enjoy our faith without awful repercussions or fear of torture, will remember them and support them in our prayers.
Notwithstanding the above, I do understand and agree with the basic tenor of this blogger’s message.
As believers, professed God-lovers and Jesus-followers, we should of course give God’s Word priority in our lives – after all, God’s Word is his voice and who doesn’t like to hear the voice of their loved one? And, after all, God’s Word is his direction and who doesn’t want to negotiate the crossroads of life successfully? And after all, God’s Word is a lamp and a light and who doesn’t need their pathway through this world’s moral maze of iniquitous darkness illuminated?
However, let’s not forget that the Bible was written at a time when people listened to the Word being read to them, rather than reading it for themselves. Let’s not forget that most exhortations to us as Christians regarding God’s Word, encourages us to listen, to pay heed, to hide it within our hearts (in other words memorise, meditate and confess it).
Reading God’s Word is necessary but intimate acquaintance with, and obedient practice of it, is also vital.
So, in the case of the implicit charge against those in category 1, what is my verdict?
In the case of the implicit charge against those in category 2, what is my verdict?
And in the case of the implicit charge against those in category 3, what is my verdict?
What say you?
If you are touched by the reality of other Christians who are either suffering for their faith, or who do not have access to God’s Word and you would like to help, or obtain further information, please check out the following organisations: Bible Society, Open Doors.
Carol (aka Lady Cee)
God’s Purpose-driven Achiever
CREDITS: All CC0 images used above are courtesy of Pixabay.com
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