"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grace under Siege 26: "Very deceived"

     Our friend Tenderheart has a powerful gift of discernment of spirits but it is a gift she'd rather not have. It makes her nervous. She doesn't like being able to sense evil and see demons. Sometimes she calls me long-distance to have me pray that God will dial down her spiritual sensitivity unless she needs it for ministry. Her family used to attend Grace when she was young. Now she is married with children and the family was spending a couple of weeks with us.
      She was leafing through the current church directory to see if there was anyone in it she still recognized. She hesitated at one page. "I don't know this man," she said slowly, "but he is very influential in this church--and he is very deceived."
     She was pointing to the picture of the chairman of the elder board, the one I have called Hatchet Man. I thought to myself, If she is right and this is from God, this man is not the evil mastermind of this apostasy. I assumed he was from his aggressive behavior to the flock. He's just deceived. I will not call him Hatchet Man anymore. I will call him Saul because he is zealous to defend God's honor but he does not realize that in persecuting those he considers God's enemies, he is persecuting Jesus Christ Himself. 
     She kept idly turning pages. She stopped at the picture of a single woman, one who has been praising God through two years of constant pain. Oh, no, there is no way I'd believe anything sinister about her!
     "This woman," said my friend, "has such a heart for God. She is a sweet lady."
     "This young man--there is something about him. I don't know exactly but something is not right. And this older man is a Freemason. Do you know him? You need to talk to him."
     I held my breath as she came to the page showing the picture of our senior pastor. I waited and when she said nothing I gave in to my curiosity and pointed to him. "And this man?"
     She stood up straighter. "I feel Satan right behind my back," she said.
     In horror, I realized what I had done. Immediately I apologized to her and confessed aloud to God, "Oh, Lord, forgive me! Forgive me for seeking knowledge for its own sake or for power and seeking it from a source other than You!" The spiritual gift of discernment, corrupted, becomes psychic power, which is witchcraft. "If you want us to know anything, You tell us."
      Immediately she said, "This man is bad. He is leading people astray."                                        

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