This week I came face to face with the reality that, yet again, I really, really, really, wanted to be the conduit of conviction and clarity in the life of someone I know. There was a sense of excitement, of anticipation, in seeing this person. Then, when I didn’t see them…
…I got mad.
God, it’s not fair! I knew exactly what I wanted to say to him/her! I had it all planned out!
Then I read these words in John 16:
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. – vs. 8-11 (NKJV)
You mean it’s not my job to gleefully tell someone when they’ve gone wrong? You mean I don’t get to rub their faces in it? You mean that it’s Your job to break open walls and pour truth into another’s heart? That the only thing I can do is testify to Your transformative grace in my life?
Ouch, ouch, ouch.
It can start out innocently enough. You hear that woman in church being nasty to her children. You’ve tried confronting her about it before, but she never listens. Just tells you that you don’t understand and that you’re interfering. So that little bit of irritation creeps in. Or it can be that coworker who claims to follow Jesus but spends his weekends partying. You’ve talked with him before, but he just told you to loosen up. It’s none of your business. So you start to think that maybe he isn’t really saved.
The husband who thinks you’re a nag. The friend who stops calling. The pastor who really just doesn’t want another email from you.
It hurts when you realize that you’ve been trying to do God’s job. You feel chagrined, ashamed. You realize that you could have possibly done a great deal of damage. When you actually look forward to “slamming” someone with a little bit of truth, then you know your motives are wrong. It’s never about putting someone “in their place.”
Legitimate concern for a brother or sister in Christ can turn into something wildly inappropriate in a heartbeat. The truth is that we are meant to speak truth into each other’s lives. We are supposed to hold each other accountable. However, there is no human being that can do the job of God. He is the One who opens eyes, melts hearts, draws people closer to Him. All we can do is model a life of submission to His guidance.
Otherwise, it’s not our job.
Not my job.