A Spirit-Led Judging Response
By now, I am sure most of you have heard about the so-called healer/revivalist of Lakeland, FL Todd Bentley. Just google his name and you will find plenty of information.
Reading blogs, articles, and witnessing the responses of those around me including myself, two things stood out to me about this whole episode besides the insatiable unhealthy appetite for signs and wonders and a desperate hunger for hope:
1. Lack of Discernment in the Christian community
2. A fear of man instead of fear of God creating a lack of resolve to stand up for God’s truth
Discernment and fear of God are both required to judge others as God instructs us.
When Todd was making headlines and drawing crowds, an acquaintance said, Isn’t this great! Whether or not he is of God, God’s name is out there, He is moving, working, healing! My expression must have spoken volumes, because she basically told me not to be a kill-joy and stop being judgmental. I kept my mouth shut, but my spirit was whispering – listen to me something is wrong here. I rationalized I didn’t have the facts (that was the first time I heard about him) and I didn’t want to get into another “heated discussion” in an already stressed relationship, so I didn’t say anything.
When I got home, the spirit convicted me on my silence stance. The spirit gave me the discernment but I didn’t follow it and I put the fear of causing contention in a relationship over what the spirit was prompting me to say.
I should have trusted the spirit’s lead and whatever came out of my mouth was what needed to be said and leave the outcome up to Him. In silencing the spirit, I dishonored her, God and me by suppressing the spirit’s voice. I felt horrible afterwards. I started to beat myself up for being weak and pathetic, and then I turned to God. He patted me on the head and said, Don’t beat yourself up, but did you learn the lesson, don’t put anyone or anything above Me? Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple”. I and my truth come first. Trust what I tell you, you don’t need all the facts; I have them just trust my voice (discernment) and put me first always (fear of God).
In Luke 14:26, Christ is telling us to choose Him above everyone else. Who is first is who we fear, who we seek to please, and whose will we follow. I needed to listen to the spirit, trust Him, and speak up. By remaining silent people think we agree, people get hurt, and our witness for God is marred. And if we don’t act on our spiritual discernment, in time we will lose it as we are witnessing among the masses. Matthew 25:14-29
We need to stand up for God’s truth and heed the voice of the spirit. We are called to judge and discern among those who call themselves brethren. We are to judge the actions not the person. Judging the person whose heart we can’t see isn’t our role. Our part is to judge the actions, behaviors and words. Matthew 7:1-2, 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 Corinthians 5:12-13
Without a spirit-lead judging community of believers the truth becomes watered down and perverted, people are hurt and led astray, and our testimonies are weakened and ineffective. This experience cut me to the core in regards to the importance of listening to the spirit’s whispers, putting God above every relationship, and speaking out against the actions of others when prompted to by the spirit.