|Speaking truth brings opposition.|
But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said (Acts 13:45 NLT).
Paul and Barnabas were preaching with much success in Antioch. Almost the whole city turned out to hear them preach. Concerning the Gospel, success always breeds opposition. The resistance to truth is conceived in the human heart through jealousy and slander brings it to birth.
There is the inclination in the human heart towards pride. Vanity seeks to elevate ourselves by denigrating others. The Jewish leaders resisted Paul and Barnabas not just because of their message, but because of the popularity of their teaching. The Gospel has a polarizing effect on people. You either accept it, or you organize yourself against it. As Christians, we should never be surprised by the reaction to our message. The key question here for believers is, how do we respond to accusations? We never fight pride with pride. Our weapons for warfare are mighty, but they are not carnal. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NLT). If we allow the enemy to entice us to fight the conflict on his level, we will always lose.
We don’t overcome slander by more slander, which is like fighting fire with fire. We must respond in the opposite spirit. When accusations come, we must react with humility, which is strength under control. Doing so brings credibility to our message. Sometimes our actions speak louder than our words. It is not about winning an argument, but winning a soul. It is possible to win the battle (the argument) and lose the war over the souls of men and women. Jealousy and strife’s offspring, slander, never bring people to Christ.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing