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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