II TIMOTHY 2:24-26: “The Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, tolerant. Let him give guidance with humility to those who are in opposition—perhaps God may grant them a change of mind, leading to the knowledge of truth. Then they may regain their senses and escape the devil’s snare, in which they had been held captive by him to do his will.” TLV
OBSERVATION: How do I handle the truth? As believers in Jesus Christ, entrusted with the word of truth, how do we act toward those who disagree with us, or take an active and angry stand against this truth?
To know the truth is a great responsibility. We are responsible for how we handle the word of truth, and we are responsible for our attitudes as we share the truth. We do not come to this responsibility because of our superior intellect or understanding. We have been entrusted with this responsibility because we have become recipients of God’s saving grace. We are not masters of the truth. In reality and essence we are servants of the truth, and of the One who alone is the truth.
This acknowledgment leaves no room for pride or arrogance. In fact, apart from God’s grace, and without the Holy Spirit, we are totally incapable of knowing or understanding God’s truth!
- “These things we also speak—not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Ruach, explaining the spiritual to the spiritual. Now a natural man does not accept the things of the Ruach Elohim, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 TLV
This is why Paul exhorts Timothy to manifest the following qualities in his stewardship of the truth – able to teach, tolerant, humble, and willing to give guidance. There is no place for angry discourse for one who holds the truth of God’s Kingdom. Anger has to do with fear. Fear is tied to our insecurity. And insecurity is the absence of truth. If we know the truth there is no need to be fearful or angry. Truth should lead us to patient intercession and discourse. Truth is our freedom to love as God loves, with mercy and grace.
- “Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” John 8:31-32 TLV
Some may think it arrogant of the believer to claim that he knows the truth. It is not something that he has discovered due to his superior intellect. It is something that has been freely given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a gift that is given with a call of stewardship. Our goal is never to use the truth to prove we are right. Our goal should always be to share the truth so that others too may be set free into the glorious liberty of the sons and daughters of God!
- “…perhaps God may grant them a change of mind, leading to the knowledge of truth. Then they may regain their senses and escape the devil’s snare, in which they had been held captive by him to do his will.”
The world may despise us for God’s truth. We may suffer persecution for this truth. Yet, we must entrust this battle to the Lord and be willing to lay down our lives and our egos in our stewardship of the truth. Jesus prayed to the Father in His High Priestly Prayer,
- “I have given them Your word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. “Make them holy in the truth. Your word is truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” John 17:14-18 TLV
If people become angry with us when we share the truth, let us turn the other cheek. If they try to harm us with their actions and their words, let us bless them and pray for them, as Jesus has called us to do. May we be like Stephen, who, although being stoned for the truth, looked up into heaven and cried – “…Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Remember, it was the same Paul who is writing these instructions to Timothy that stood and witnessed these very words from Stephen.
As the anger and rhetoric of a midterm election begins to swell, what will my testimony and demeanor be? Lord, help me to quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, but always ready to answer with the truth – in love!
In Jesus Name!