Is it Time to Strike a Match?

Have you ever wanted to burn a pile of books? I wanted to once. Someone had taken a few sentences of foundational truth and woven them into paragraphs of twisted misguidings. It grabbed my attention and then infused it with fear. Their interpretations, their opinions, their “teachings” – they terrified me.

“What if I believed them?”

“And they turned out to be wrong… dead wrong? …Or worse, what if everything I have always believed was a lie?”

I stood there in that moment, lost in the middle of a crumbling city. The sky darkened with questions; doubt pierced every memory and the ground on which I stood was no longer solid. It quaked.

I was sinking and that made me angry, angry enough to set the words on fire. All of them.
i know it hurts to burn (one)

So did Hitler. {gasp, I know. It is an extremely strong analogy, bear with me}. Hitler and his associates viewed contradictory literature and thought as sources of evil. He wanted anything that remotely threatened his philosophy to be torched. He feared their contradiction so much that he reacted with a lit match (and gallons of gasoline). As I thought about it and dug through some of the ashes of his book burning I found he singed only a few anti-German writings but consumed countless classics like Ernest Hemingway and Helen Keller. In his frantic fear and violent haste he not only snuffed out the contradictions but he began to kill off words of life too. No one really knows the official list of what books were burned nor exactly how many. But no one can deny the aftermath. The fear in his soul spread like wild-fire consuming lifetimes of words, some of them now completely decimated.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Life isn’t lived in the extremes. Burning every word wouldn’t steady my quaking soul. But ignoring the encroaching doubt was like adding fuel to the fire too. So there I stood, staring into the rubble holding a match. Strike and run? Or sit and sort?

Strike and Run

A whisper from somewhere Heavenly settled on my shoulder and said,

“Come to Me, weary one. I will patiently, tediously, sort through this with you. No matter the question, no mind the long hours, despite your angry-hurt heart. I see you, let me help you to see.”

I tucked the match into my pocket and sat down. In the eerie quiet I sat free from everyone else’s opinion and peering eyes. And there, I sought the author of my faith. I showed Him the words and we spoke about the concepts, theories and comments. I cried. I read. I prayed. I cried again. I read again. I prayed again.

Little by little an amazing thing began to happen, those contradictions became sources of glue for me. Piece by piece my faith’s foundation not only stopped quaking, but started firming. Stronger than before.

“Looking away from all that will distract, to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].”  Heb. 12:2a AMP

Standing on the edge of crumbled foundations holding a match, I faced a choice. Choose fear and react with fire or turn towards the One who built my faith. I turned.

Yes, be wary of false teachings, and guard your heart. But before you light a match (or judge too quickly) remember, something else happens at a bon fire, the raging inferno can spew embers farther than you may realize. Reacting in fear and hastily rebuking the writer, or speaker not only burns the two of you… but anyone watching as well.

Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words, it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:14

When facing that mountain of “what if’s” and “who do I believe” go past the messenger and directly to the author of YOUR faith. While guarding your heart, guard your mouth too.

 

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