Confronting Spiritual Abuse and Neglect As Both Alike Wicked and Disobedient

Confronting Spiritual Abuse and Neglect As Both Alike Wicked and Disobedient The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

I am convinced that a fair portion of the time Christians keep silent on certain questions and issues of social and political import, it is not because they believe speaking up would be ungodly in and of itself, but because they are adhering to Proverbs 17:28, after a fashion.

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; 

when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

That is, rather than appearing foolish, they just don’t get into this or that.

But what if some of the subjects we American Christians shy away from could be within our grasp, with diligent study and practiced effort? What would we say then?

In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul sets the example, to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Where Paul says “every,” and uses the analogies and metaphors of war, the answer to the question of what we should strive for and aspire to is a holistic Christian worldview which leaves no stone unturned in building out an understanding, in ourselves and one another, of what God’s Word tells us, including but not limited to implications.

Yet consider also what Paul wrote in his first epistle to the church at Corinth. In what could be said of many American Christians, and many American churches today, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 reads as follows:

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”

This, then, brings us to another reason I believe many of us in the American Church do not approach every sphere of human knowledge and activity with a view to destroying arguments and every lofty opinion.

That is, many of us invariably associate the increase of knowledge, rhetorical ability, and activity with selfish ambition and vain conceit. Our default is suspicion and hostility. When one in our midst is well studied, or articulate, we are tempted to think first of feeling threatened, or being embarrassed by them, or being envious of them. And thus we embark, tragically, to cut them down to size, rather than striving to build them up and be like them.

What you can call this tendency, if you are wise, is “abusive” – not just because it abuses those who study to show themselves approved workmen, but also because it abuses the truth, and represents poor stewardship of the time, attention, energy, and opportunities God has graciously given to us in the here and now, to spur one another on to love and good deeds, as long as we can say that today is today.

To be sure, this ugliness can come from the laity, and often as not does, to some extent. Yet just as surely, it can come from the clergy as well, and the institutions of authority, humanly speaking, in our churches and denominations, themselves prefer to remain entrenched in their lofty opinions, regardless what obedience to Christ would require of them.

Even where many of us conservatives in American churches reject Woke Christianity, and the waging of unholy social justice war, or calls for normalizing socialism, and even communism, too many of us nevertheless set up or else tolerate a perverse arrangement which promises, and even strives for, depression and anxiety, only to turn around and rebuke our brothers and sisters for becoming depressed and anxious.

That is, unless there are stern and manly objections, the beatings will continue until morale improves. Yet even if there are objections, the beatings will keep on, until such a time as we are prepared to demand that they stop, and that those delivering them repent.

But what else do we read in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament? Proverbs 31:8-9 comes to mind, where the sayings of King Lemuel conclude as follows:

“Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

This is to say that before we learn about the excellent woman who fears Yahweh, we see how such a woman teaches her son to compose himself – speaking up for those who are mute, destitute, poor, and needy. When their rights are threatened, and a judge is needed, the excellent woman teaches her son to speak up, judge, and defend, not look the other way and pretend he didn’t see that, or hear their cries for deliverance.

But that is to say that spiritual abuse and neglect really are two sides of the same coin, where claims of taking every thought captive to Christ are concerned. Some embark in this, or claim to, as a disguise for their malice, selfish ambition, and vain conceit – to be sure. But that is why we must remember Proverbs 18:17.

“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

How can it be that another is never allowed to come and examine the first to state his case, unless we only really want to do what seems right, but not what is right?

May the Lord teach us a better way to honor Him than that.

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