Several years ago, before my faith walk changed so much, I found myself becoming a bit annoyed with a particular friend of mine & my husband's because of some of the things he was sharing on Facebook. He was sharing Bible verses and his thoughts about them; but the way he was seeing things challenged my (our) current belief system. This rubbed me the wrong way, and to be honest, I almost "unfollowed" him so that I would no longer see his posts! However, I did not do that, and after a while I began to ask myself, "What is it about ______________ that bothers me?", and I would pray about it and examine the Bible verses that our friend had shared to see if there was any way in which I could be misunderstanding them or not.
Have you ever heard someone sharpen a knife? It isn't really a pleasant sound, is it? Looking back at how at first I thought our friend was "rubbing me the wrong way" with his thought process, I now see that what was happening was what it says in Proverbs 27:17
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
|Picture taken from Pixabay.com|
|Picture taken from Pixabay.com|
I used two different pictures because I have heard some say that the "iron sharpening iron" is referring to the blacksmith's process of hammering. Either way, the sound of iron against iron can be annoying! But what I was experiencing at the time was the Holy Spirit convicting me of an erroneous understanding of certain Biblical principles. Thankfully, instead of unfollowing my friend and/or brushing off the irritations as something that was his problem, I took my misgivings and frustrations to Yahweh (God) and asked Him what He thought about it. I had learned from past experiences that sometimes the reason a person might rub me the wrong way could be because something about them was really a reflection of something about myself that I should address! I asked Yahweh to reveal His truth to me and to give me understanding. I felt within my spirit that there was something there, or actually more appropriately said, not there in my life. I shared that experience in a bit more detail in this post, so please check that out if you have not yet, or if it has been a while since you read it.
After a while, my husband and I actually reached out to our friend (I will now call him our brother) and starting asking him why he was seeing things so differently. Yahweh truly used him to help my husband and me dig deeper into the Word. This brother of ours played a pivotal role in the change in my husband's and my faith walk, and ultimately our children as well; not only because of his words - but because of his actions backing up his words! We are so thankful for this brother in Messiah and his willingness to share his faith and walk it out for us to see!
Accountability. That is what I see happened. The Bible tells us in multiple places that we as Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) are to hold one another accountable. Here are several verses that I want to share with you in hopes that you will read over them and consider them:
- Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
- James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
- Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
- Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
- Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
- Ephesians 4:1-32 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, ...
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- Luke 17:3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,
- Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
- 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. ...
- Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
- Galatians 6:1-18 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. ...
- Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the
throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book
of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according
to what they had done.
- Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
I don't know if our brother considered himself to be holding us (or anyone else) accountable or not, but by his willingness to share Bible verses and his willingness to share how he was living it out, his words and deeds were in essence holding us accountable. He was "teaching and admonishing" (Colossians 3:16) us to walk out our faith in a Biblical way. He was stirring us up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).
Holding one another accountable can be tricky. There seems to be a fine line between holding others accountable and judging others. More and more it seems that we hear "Don't judge me!", but hopefully the verses I shared above will be enough to spur us all into searching the Scriptures to find out just where that fine line exists - or even if it does exist. Growth in general is a process that isn't always pleasant. Do you remember hearing as a child that your aches and pains were "growing pains"? But just because something is unpleasant, uncomfortable, or even annoying, that doesn't mean we should dismiss it or avoid it.
So, my word of encouragement to you today is that when/if you see, hear, or read something that challenges your current belief system,
- take it to Yahweh in prayer
- ask Him to guide you into all truth
- be willing to admit it when you are wrong
- make the necessary changes to be in line with His Word
If someone has "rubbed you the wrong way", but this led you to be a better person, a more worthy ambassador for Yahweh (Ephesians 4:1), take time to let them know. Say a prayer for them and ask Yahweh to bless them in their walk that they will continue to grow as well.
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,”
that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.