Guilty as charged. I have done it. Said something or posted something that I believed was correct only to find out later that it was either distorted or completely wrong. I have learned. There is much more to learning The Word than just reading a few articles here or there or studying the newest translation of the Bible and running with the words written there. One good example of this is a new version of the Bible that includes questionable additions to The Word that border on or are heresy. Is this what we want for ourselves or our families - to be teaching from false teachings or urban legends? Or do we want to be sharing the truth?
I remember a few years ago watching this woman speak about her journey into being more Torah observant and following Yahweh's Feast Days. I laughed out loud when she said, “At some point you will find that you see EVERYTHING as being pagan,” and she went on to explain that you will find yourself saying to people “I can’t do that - IT’S PAGAN!!” I laughed at how she calmly said the first part, but then distorted her face and almost yelled, “IT’S PAGAN!” Then one day it happened - I heard myself saying it to someone I have known for years. I almost choked on my own words as they just rolled off my tongue. I knew at that moment that I needed to take a step back and truly look at my new beliefs.
Most of us have come from some other organized religion and have had to undo, forget, or clear our minds of dogmas, doctrines, or baggage so that our thoughts are not tainted by what we have been indoctrinated with for years or even decades. These false teachings must be put aside to make room for truth and old teachings from ancient writings that we may have never fully understood before. It’s a careful balance between saving what we learned that was truth and what we need to relearn or unlearn is truth. Yet often times we jump on board a social media bandwagon that includes the newest and latest creative meme without even questioning the truthfulness behind the creation.
It seems in our desire to be “right” and Torah observant, we get over zealous sometimes, especially with certain topics, and forget that we are carrying His message to His people, so we better get that message right.
John 8:32 says ” . . . and the truth will set you free.”
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to social media this month. . . Seems the truth definitely set me free - from other people’s social media, to be exact. I have to say that social media is not my favorite thing on the planet, to be honest. I didn’t even have a Facebook page until just a few years ago. I always sensed that social media could rob you of time and get out of hand quickly when not “babysat” properly. I have watched this happen on several occasions to myself and to others, and it has taught me to be much more watchful and careful.
Recently it seems, there has been an uncomfortable tendency to attack people and say things about them that are just not right and decent. The concern started when people with normally kind hearts, seemed to change from the ways they would usually act, which was kind and caring, and then turn on people with venom in their words when people challenged their faulty beliefs, both biblical and secular beliefs. It took me some time to get the courage to stand up for someone else because I knew I risked losing “friends”. Probably not the right attitude to have, right? After all, the Bible tells us several times how we are to stand up for others.
Proverbs 31:8-9 WEB Open your mouth for the mute, in the cause of all who are left desolate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and serve justice to the poor and needy.
Let’s quickly explain that in Verse 8, the word mute means someone who is unable to speak for themselves, someone who is speechless. This definition can be used to mean someone with a physical inability to actually speak, but is also used to mean someone who just isn’t able to speak for or stand up for themselves. This may be someone who is not courageous enough or who feels intimidated. Yet, you can see how these verses tell us to open our mouths for those who cannot so that we can help get justice for the afflicted, humble or weak ones. By not speaking up because there is more worry about whether or not the numbers of our friends or followers will go down, then we are not following the advice of scripture. I was not speaking up at first because I was more concerned about risking being “deleted”. Finally, something stirred inside me and I just could not watch while others were disrespected by unkind words and taunts, especially by people who are normally very kind and loving.
Psalm 82:3 WEB "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed”
Psalm 94:16 WEB Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against the evildoers?
What happens when we choose to sit silent and allow the insults, taunting, or what-not to continue? There are a few very clear verses in Ezekiel that warn us of consequences for when we DON’T speak up. You see, when we remain silent, we are failing to share the truth that Yahweh gives to us about how to treat others.
Ezekiel 3:17-19 Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore hear the word from my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I tell the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he doesn't turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
OUCH! Yahweh has given us his truths, and we are responsible for lovingly teaching others through our example and sometimes even through rebuke. It is our responsibility to try with love in our hearts to teach them, for the burden lies with us who know the truth.
I was faced with this on a few occasions recently and, well, after much hesitation, I finally spoke up. I carefully chose the words I used and tried to follow the Torah in everything I said. I wrote, erased, and rewrote each line several times. It was important to make certain my heart was true and my intentions were pure so that I could be blameless for what I was saying. I prayed before I “spoke”, in written words of course, and I tried to use scriptures for those who would listen to scriptures. For those who are not believers, I tried to use only truths that were Torah, not worldy “truths”, and worded things so they would hold up to their personal belief system. Knowing that mentioning the Torah or “God Stuff” would upset them more, I tried to avoid mentioning Yahweh, scripture verses or His teachings in any way, while still teaching His Truth.
No matter how much I struggled with writing just the right words, they were not well received. The reactions were less than kind, often accusatory, and in the end, very angry. None of which were my intentions. Yet I have learned one thing over the last several months in Yahweh’s refining process, there will be people who will not yield when the truth is presented, no matter how it is presented to them. I watched as my words were misquoted, twisted, and misused. As things unfolded, my true intentions were misrepresented and untruths were told about my character and my reasons for speaking. Very little was spoken about the content or whether it was right or wrong, just personal attacks launched against me and those I defended. When things I stated WERE rebuked by this other person, it came across as nit-picking about phrasing, or my grammar, and an attempt was made to embarrass me in front of their friends for my misusing one word. The truth from scriptures I was attempting to teach was never accepted, denied or even addressed. Instead, all I got back as a response was a diversion from the real message, like a magician who uses slight of hand to trick the audience, or a politician who redirects an uneasy conversation.
John 3:20 WEB For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed.
Proverbs 1:7 “. . .but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction. . .”
Proverbs 15:32 “. . . He who refuses correction despises his own soul, but he who listens to reproof gets understanding. . .”
I am sorry that there is now a wedge between me and these others I had hoped to help. That was never my intention. I have spent several hours over the last few weeks, a few minutes here, several minutes there, questioning, and re-examining my behaviours, to ensure that I stayed within Torah. There are a couple of things I will correct, should I ever have the chance again to speak with the people who are angry. I am not above judging my own actions, receiving rebuke from Yahweh or refining myself, but for now things will be left unsaid.
There was never another chance to talk sensibly, calmly, or humbly with each other. The immediate response was for the person to eliminate the perceived “problem." In each case, it was my sincere prayer that the recipient of my messages will take to heart what was said, pray on the words that were spoken and see the spirit in which they were given. In the end, it is in Yahweh’s hands and only He can change or mold hearts. And if anything else that I have said or done was in error, He will correct me, change me and continue to mold me as well. In the meantime, life goes on, and social media is STILL not my favorite thing in the world. It is, however, a useful means to minister to others, especially those who are at a great distance as long as we continue to have the boldness to speak the truth and the compassion to minister to others.
Ephesians 5:11-13 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of. But all things, when they are reproved, are revealed by the light, for everything that reveals is light.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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