I briefly mentioned opinions of others, now let’s go deeper in this area! Everybody has an opinion – which there is no shortage of for some. I heard a pastor say that we actually enter another dimension when we divorce ourselves from the opinions of others. Dr. Price made a comment back in 1998 as it relates to denominations and how many in their respective denomination swears it's the right one. It's an opinion of course and for many that have opinions, they hype it up to the point that it trumps the Word. That should never happen. Some have been bold enough to use the Word to hype up their opinions when the truth is they are really misusing it. Of course, this creates oppression to the one who falls from the opinion. Let me stay there, because I see an epidemic on social media (where there are single pastors with no covering or accountability promoting their agenda – really shearing those who are babes and have itching ears). I speak against that in Jesus' name.
Now I’m not saying denominations are totally a bad thing, just focus on how they started. And that’s simply an opinion that may or may not be Scripturally based.
The ones that make me laugh and frustrated are the ones who say, “The Lord said…” and there’s no Scriptural content contained in it. This right here is one example of someone who’s in the childhood stage. People that have opinions with no substance are dangerous to themselves and to others.
Let me give a great example: when you’re going through spiritual warfare or dealing with a crisis of any type, opinionated people say “you need just a little more Jesus.” You have my permission to slap them! Jesus is more than enough. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need to surrender control, you are your own and you are self-made. That, whether you know it or not, can cause oppression. Jesus wants whatever control you think you have. And let’s be real, what we’re thinking isn’t always the mind and heart of God. In Jeremiah 29:11 (from the Message Bible), it starts off saying (God speaking) I know what I’m doing. If He knows what He’s doing, that should give us every reason to trust Him with everything. Let’s add to this, He knows what we’ve done and are currently dealing with, yet He still wants us. Just because pastors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and the world will reject, God won’t! He wants you so He can lavish His love and healing over you. What the devil is doing with many people is to get them to agree that you don’t have to follow when you have can do it better than others (and inadvertently better than God). Look at what you’ve been through, you need to gain control of your life, don’t surrender it to anybody including God. The key to getting out of this oppression is stop knowing what to do. Let every thought and decision pass through the filter of God. If people want to hurry you, let them, but stand still so God can speak through you. I’m a living witness in that whatever is not in God’s will, will become my bill (in other words, I’m going to have to pay for it). But watch this, confess that to God, don’t carry that burden. Your body wasn’t designed to carry it. And besides, what good is it doing you by carrying it?
If you don’t remember anything, remember this: the enemy will use people (in and out the church) to oppress you with their opinions. The enemy will get you to question God’s Word (like he did Eve in Genesis 3). You see, in the pews, we have people like Eliphaz, Bildad & Zophar sitting right next to you, waiting for you to slip up so they can attack you. Jennifer LeClaire (from Charisma Magazine nailed this): Eliphaz is one who will come over your house to tell you that it’s your fault because of sin. Bildad will confirm everything Eliphaz said and Zophar will condemn you in the battle. How is that for opinions?
And while I’m on it, she expounds further about legalistic Christians who throw their jargon out there to puff themselves up especially when they know someone who’s engaged in spiritual warfare. She said: The enemy uses those close to us to add fuel to his fiery darts when what we really need is someone to stand in the gap for us. Of course, we should all examine our hearts when the onslaught comes to make sure we don't have any open doors, but too many well-intentioned Christians give pat answers and platitudes that do not reflect God's heart in the midst of our battle.
And we want to throw darts, instead of praying for reconciliation, restoration, and for recovery? The devil doesn’t have to win even though we may have intently or unintentionally taken the bait! I serve a God who is in the healing business, restoration business, reconciliation business, and who loves us despite the mistakes we made and sins we committed. If you look at the Scriptural text for this blogpost, what stands out to me is the fact that Jesus came to heal the sick and the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18). But the leader of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. You have some people in church that will become so legalistic saying that they don’t deserve to be healed, or they have to go through some form of ritual, or they have to bear the shame of the sin they committed, they must be exposed to the church and to the public that they are a disgrace. The leader of the synagogue cared about the law (while he truthfully was breaking that very law) and didn’t care if she ever got healed (because they wanted to be seen by the crowds as holy and untouchable, when they truthfully were full of sin and needed a Savior). I like that Jesus called them for what they were, hypocrites (and the Amplified Bible used the terms play-actors and pretenders). And you’ll find that hypocrites, play-actors and pretenders are experts with opinions and parroting Scriptures to prove that they are all that and they got this life so down to where they really don’t need Jesus themselves. That’s a sad place to be.
Think about it, if you have ever been oppressed, everything is out of whack. If you’re not careful and you’re not going after His Word with all you have, it’ll be real easy to fall for the opinions of others that are not even scripturally based (like God hates divorce, so stay in your abusive relationship). And when you’re oppressed, there’s a strong you may not be able to see yourself (and others) free from the oppression? And most opinionated people have done so much damaged to those who are oppressed that they will turn their backs on them because they did their damage. Faith and agape love won't allow people to stay oppressed or under the web of an opinion that’s not of God!
I heard a pastor give a great example of an opinion that can literally oppress someone (especially if they’re not strong in their faith): Let’s take the word “grace.” When you ask the question, “What is grace?” They will say that grace is unmerited favor. The truth is that grace and favor mean the same thing, but the question still wasn’t answered. So, they’ll say it’s something you don’t earn, knowing full well that wasn’t what you asked. So, you then ask them, “Why don’t I deserve it?” You now have to tell me every bad thing that I did to show me that I don’t deserve it.
I now ask you, what’s wrong with that picture? Considering you’ll never hear God say that about anybody! So, if you’re one who says that grace is unmerited favor – you’re not looking at God, you’re looking at man. When you say that grace IS a gift, that’s pointing to God. So many Christians (well, people of all walks of life for that matter) feel condemned because people are going around saying that grace is unmerited favor and you don’t deserve it.
Can I just give you one more example? I’m sure you’ve heard this from a pastor, a coach, a counselor or someone sitting in the congregation with you (or at another church) the following: we are the initiators and create our reality. We don’t have to follow and why do it like someone else considering that we can make it better. And just because you’re saved and a Christian, doesn’t mean that you have to submit to Him. You are your own man and your own woman. Whoever is telling you that may sound good, but it’s contrary to Scripture and will actually hinder your healing from oppression and the opinions of others. The Word is the final authority and the final say so in your life. We have to make sure that what people say is lined up with the Scripture, otherwise, get away because their agenda is to bring oppression onto your life. They say misery loves company.
Many of us are on the path to healing and wholeness, and I’ll be honest with you, it will require some spiritual warfare. You will be challenged and tried on many levels. The key is to stay committed to the fight (and yes, it’s a faith fight and the faith fight is a good fight) when everything inside you and those opinionated people will tell you to quit, and put bugs in your ear saying, “you can never heal, you’ll never recover!” Don’t buy into that. The devil IS a liar! Romans 8:31 says if God be for you, who can be against you!
I was truly blessed by this article entitled What Your Friends Don’t Want To Hear When The Devil Is Attacking written by Jennifer LeClaire (I quoted a little bit of it above, so just click on the title to read it). What I like about it is that it exposes how the enemy will use people (it could be a counselor, a coach, a pastor, those in the pews, and the list goes on) and their opinions to oppress you and to bring condemnation to your mental/emotional psyche. She says this:
Spiritual platitudes—banal, trite and stale remarks—are not as painful as pious calls for repentance for sins you haven't thought about committing. But spiritual platitudes are unhelpful at best and admittedly annoying. Let's face it, pat Bible answers—"cast all your cares" and "those whom He loves He disciplines"—that really don't apply to your situation are anything but a word in due season.
When people are going through hell and back, most people don't need to play patty cake with verses about not growing weary in well doing, fighting the good fight of faith, standing and withstanding or counting it all joy. That may be helpful for baby Christians, but mature warriors usually don't need to be told what is obvious: Have faith in God; only believe; the battle is the Lord's.
God wants you healed, whole and thriving into what you were predestined to do. We don’t define our assignment; we discover it through Him. Are you willing to break free from the opinions and the oppression? I pray that you can shout YES when asked this question knowing and having confidence that healing is the children’s bread according to Matthew 15:20-28. Let’s finish 2016 strong by going hard for God and His Word!
The Mayne Man