Responding to Ignorance and Attacks on Faith
And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. — John 9:28-34
This moment represents the escalation of every argument you have ever heard in a courtroom, on news media, or in the bedroom of a married couple. Two people or two parties cannot see eye-to-eye. Finally, one person (or party) resorts to name-calling and weaponizing the past. And then, it becomes criticizing, condemning, and canceling. We have all experienced this, and we have all done it. And it's triggered by feelings of loss. But it's signaled by one tiny three-letter word — "You."
- “You are his disciple."
- “You were born in utter sin."
And these religious officials criticize and condemn because they feel threatened by Jesus. They're merely taking it out on this man. Something good has happened to him, and they turn it into something bad. To top it off, they want him to feel threatened by their condemnations and comply with their regulations. But the man does not let this emotionally affect him or intellectually sway him. It's common sense to him. A sinner could not heal — only a Savior could.
By nature of his response, this man teaches us how to respond to attacks on our faith and belief in Jesus. Here are five things he does exceedingly well that we need to do better:
- Don't get emotionally triggered.
- Stay focused on biblical truth.
- Offer common sense rebuttals.
- Use respectful language.
- Know when to disengage.
Gentlemen, we need to get better at doing these five things. We are entering times when we will need to get better at taking heat for being a believer. And we need to know how to do this. So identify where you need to improve and make the necessary adjustments so you can stand for Jesus when the time comes.
- Reflect on a time when a disagreement escalated into personal attacks and condemnation. How did you respond, and what were the results? What could you have done differently to promote a more productive and respectful dialogue?
- Consider the qualities demonstrated by the man in the passage: emotional resilience, focus on biblical truth, common sense rebuttals, respectful language, and knowing when to disengage. Which of these qualities do you excel in, and which ones do you need to improve upon? How can you actively work on enhancing these qualities in order to better respond to attacks on your faith?
DO THIS: Work on one of the qualities listed above. Decide how you will do this.
PRAY THIS: God, give me the strength to respond with grace and truth when faced with ignorance and attacks on the faith. Help me embody resilience, wisdom, and respectful dialogue. Amen.
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6 thoughts on “Responding to Ignorance and Attacks on Faith”
This formerly blind man was modeling Jesus, without having been around him for long. This newly seeing man was not backing down from confrontation, regardless of consequence. Jesus never backed down from confrontation, but when His opponents would not give a direct answer, neither would He. This seems like a logical way to defend yourself or your faith, until the opponent in the argument is no longer speaking from a place of logic, truth, or understandable reasoning. Pose an OBVIOUS question that EVERYONE in earshot has the answer to. If the opposing person refuses to answer your question, politely do the same and walk away, like Jesus did when he asked the religious leaders if John, the Baptist, was sent from heaven or was baptizing to further his own agenda. The Psalms or Proverbs, I forget which – maybe both, address this as well, anyone who lays a snare for others will get caught in it themselves. Don’t step into the bear trap that an opponent sets, let them forget it’s there and have them walk into their own trap.
Awesome message to think about!! Often times during verbal interactions, I feel backed into a corner and will say very hurtful things to try and make my point.
So how does one disengage, especially if the other person is speaking lies?
When you come across someone who’s spreading lies or misinformation, it can be tricky to handle the situation. But as a man of faith, there are some biblical principles that can guide you in dealing with it.
First, ask God for wisdom and discernment. Pray for the ability to recognize falsehoods and know how to respond. Remember, God is the source of wisdom and understanding.
When you confront someone who’s speaking lies, do it with love. Be respectful and compassionate, even if you strongly disagree. It’s important to speak the truth, but do it in a way that shows you care about the person.
Use the Bible as your guide. Compare what the person is saying with what the Bible teaches. When you find falsehoods, gently point them out and provide scriptural evidence to support the truth.
Avoid getting into pointless arguments or fights. It’s not worth it. If the conversation turns into a heated dispute, it’s better to step away and avoid further quarrels. Stay humble and graceful in your interactions.
Don’t forget to pray for the person. Instead of holding onto anger or frustration, ask God to help them see the truth. Pray for their understanding and growth in faith.
Seek wise counsel from other believers. Find people who are mature in their faith and can offer guidance. They can help you navigate these challenging situations and make wise decisions.
Disengaging from someone speaking lies doesn’t mean giving up on them. Approach the situation with love, patience, and a desire to bring truth and understanding.
Great question and reply. I think I’ve been groomed in passivity and trying to discern that vs disengaging. I am doing well, per Vinces reply on praying for those person’s vs holding onto anger, yet that’s tough too. So far I’ve been disengaging instead of snapping back, and then sometimes it may be a couple of weeks b4 the Spirt leads me to the correct timing to revisit a person’s statement. Both the people I’m thinking about are women so that adds to the challenge. Enough said. Choose Joy!