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What Can I Say?

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts”
(Proverbs 21:2 HNV).

So, let me get this right:

 

If I go to church, I'm religious;

if you go, it's because God led you.

If I don't go, I'm independent;

if you don't, God has called you out.

 

If I shout, "Praise the Lord," I'm fanatical;

if you do it, you're in the joy of the Lord.

If I don't shout, "Praise the Lord," I'm not spiritual;

if you don't, you're mindful of not causing weak brothers to stumble.

 

If I let out a curse, I'm a foul-mouthed hypocrite;

if you do it, you're only being real.

If I don't curse, I'm not being real;

if you don't, you're keeping your body under.

 

If I speak kindly to you, I am angling for something;

if you speak kindly to me, God causes the rain to fall even on the wicked.

If I don't speak kindly to you, the love of God is not in me;

if you don't speak kindly to me, look how John the Baptist spoke to some.

 

If I judge those without, it is the blind trying to pull the blind out of the ditch;

If you judge those without, the Lord sends His saints to convince the ungodly of all their ungodliness (Jude 1:14-15).

If I don’t judge those without, it is because I am one of them;

If you don't judge those without, it is because God does.

 

When I'm grieved by what you do to me, it's self-pity;

when you're grieved by what I do to you, it's godly sorrow.

When I'm not grieved by what you do to me, it's because I'm hard as nails;

when you're not grieved by what I do to you, it's the fruit of longsuffering.

 

When I get angry with you, I'm in the flesh;

when you get angry with me, it's righteous indignation.

If I don't get angry with you, it's because I don't care;

if you don't get angry with me, it's because you understand.

 

When I make a mistake, I'm wrong and better confess it;

when you make a mistake, nobody's perfect.

When I don’t make a mistake, it’s on account of my legalistic anal retentiveness;

When you don’t make a mistake, it's the leading of the Spirit.

 

If I come running when you need help, I am trying to heap coals of fire on your head;

If you come running when I need help, what are brothers for?

If I don't come running when you need help, how can I call myself a Christian?

If you don't come running when I need help, you mustn't interfere with what God is doing with me.

 

If I rebuke you, I'm judging;

if you rebuke me, you're reproving the works of darkness.

If I don't rebuke you, it is the favor of God on you preventing me;

If you don't rebuke me, my sin has not yet come to the full.

 

If I criticize anyone, I am judging after the outward appearance;

if you do, faithful are the wounds of a friend.

If I don't criticize anyone, I'm wishy-washy;

if you don't, you're meek, lowly and Christ-like.

If I criticize, I'm a fault-finding generation;

if you criticize, it's constructive and you tell it like it is.

 

If I won't listen to you, I'm stubborn and proud;

if you won't listen to me, your senses are exercised to discern between good and evil.

If I listen to you, I'm a man-pleaser;

if you listen to me, you're swift to hear and slow to speak.

 

If you scold me and I say nothing, I'm sulking;

If I scold you and you say nothing, you're patient and submissive.

 

If I don't apologize and make things right with you, how can I say I love God Whom I haven't seen when I don't love my brother whom I have seen?

If you don't apologize and make things right with me, it's because it's God you've sinned against.

If I continue feeling bad about something you've said, a root of bitterness is springing up;

if you continue feeling bad about something I've said, I've put you under condemnation.

 

If I persist in my ways despite your warnings, I am stiff-necked and uncircumcised;

if you persist despite mine, you've set your face like a flint and know you shall not be ashamed.

 

If I argue with someone, I'm striving;

if you argue with someone, you're contending for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.

If I don’t argue with someone, I am milquetoast;

if you don’t argue with someone, you are patient and understanding.

 

If I tell all, I lack discretion;

if you tell all, you are a true Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.

If I don't tell all, I'm playing into the hands of the prince of darkness;

if you don't tell all, you're being discreet.

 

If I forsake all, even though I give my body to be burned, it profits me nothing;

if you forsake anything, you have treasure in Heaven.

If I don't forsake all, I don't really believe;

if you don't forsake all, Joseph of Arimathea was rich.

 

If I forsake my parents, I dishonor my father and mother;

if you forsake yours, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new and you're letting the dead bury the dead.

If I don't forsake them, I am disobedient to God and unworthy of Him;

if you don't, you are a faithful and dutiful son.

 

If by the things I say, people are divided, I sow discord;

if by the things you say, people are divided, you are come not to bring peace but a sword.

If by what I say, people are united, they are daubed with untempered mortar;

if united by the things you say, you are a peacemaker and shall see God.

 

Those who follow me are proselytes and tares;

those who follow you are disciples and true sheep.

Those who reject me have discernment;

Those who reject you are blind Pharisees.

 

If I have nothing more to do with someone, I'm not being loving;

if you have nothing more to do with someone, you're shaking the dust off your feet.

 

If I play cards with a sinner, I'm no different than he;

if you do so, you are all things to all men that you may gain some.

If I don't play cards with a sinner, I'm self-righteous;

if you don't, you're abstaining from all appearance of evil.

 

If I talk to everyone about the Lord, I'm witnessing in the flesh;

if you do so, you're powerfully led of the Spirit and given things to say.

If I don't talk to everyone, I have no compassion for souls;

if you don't do so, your time is not yet come.

 

If I preach and people respond, it's emotional appeal;

if you preach and people respond, it's the moving of the Spirit.

If I preach and they don't respond, I have no power;

if you preach and they don't respond, they're stiff-necked and rebellious.

 

If I don't bear fruit, I'm not abiding;

if you don't, it isn't the season for it.

 

If I do miracles, Satan comes with all power and signs and lying wonders, too;

if you do miracles, the anointing is on you.

If I don't do miracles, God is not with me;

if you don't, John the Baptist didn't either.

 

If I pray out loud, I'm praying to be seen of men;

if you pray out loud, you're confessing Him before men.

If I don't pray out loud, I'm denying Him before men;

if you don't pray out loud, you are praying secretly in your closet.

 

If I repeat my prayers, I'm like the heathen;

if you do so, the effectual and fervent prayer avails much.

 

If I try to be sure God is speaking to me, I'm doubting and looking for signs;

if you try to be sure, you're proving all things and trying the spirits.

If I don't try to be sure, I don't really care;

If you don't try to be sure, great is your faith.

If I hesitate to obey God, I'm drawing back;

if you hesitate, you're counting the cost.

If I don't hesitate, I'm not counting the cost;

If you don't hesitate, David ran toward Goliath.

 

If I seek the advice of people about some matter, I'm conferring with flesh and blood;

if you seek advice of others, it is because you know that with many counselors there is safety.

If I don't seek the advice of others, I am unteachable and independent;

if you don't do so, it is because it's just between you and the Lord.

 

If I keep the Law, I'm in bondage;

if you keep It, the Law has been fulfilled in you.

If I don't keep the Law, I work iniquity;

if you don't do so, you've been set free from the Law.

 

If I work, I have no faith;

if you work, you show your faith by your works.

If I don't work, I have no faith;

if you don't work, you've entered your rest.

 

If I don't watch TV, I'm legalistic;

if you don't, you're holy.

If I watch it, I'm carnal and worldly;

if you do, all things are lawful to you.

 

If I eat a heavy meal, I'm a glutton;

if you do, Joseph gave Benjamin five portions.

If I don't eat a lot, I'm a misguided ascetic;

if you don't eat a lot, you have meat to eat I know not of.

 

If I don't eat meat, I have a weak conscience;

if you don't eat it, you're a lover of animals.

If I eat meat, I don't consider life sacred;

if you do, we have been given dominion over every creature.

 

If I drink alcohol, I'm a son of iniquity, if not a drunkard;

if you drink, it's not what goes into the mouth but what comes out; and don’t you know that Jesus ate and drank with sinners?

If I don't drink, I'm legalistic, and I need to know Jesus made wine at Cana;

if you don't drink, it's because you are temperate in all things, and not all things are expedient.

 

If as a man I have long hair, it's a shame and even nature teaches that;

if you have it, it's meant to be or God wouldn't grow it.

 

If I have a beard, I'm a grub;

if you have one, hair grows on our faces for a purpose.

If I don't have a beard, Jesus had one;

if you don't, you're making yourself presentable for others' sakes.

 

If my children misbehave, I'm sparing the rod and spoiling the child;

if yours misbehave, children will be children.

If my children are well behaved, it's because I dominate them;

if yours are well behaved, you have your house in order.

 

If I stare at a beautiful woman, I'm lusting;

if you stare, you're admiring the beauty of God's workmanship.

If I don't stare at a beautiful woman, I'm not normal;

if you don't, you are crucified unto the world.

 

If I charge high prices, I have a problem with love of money;

if you charge high prices, your trustworthiness is worth something.

If I don't charge high prices, I'm a fool;

if you don't, you have a generous spirit.

 

If I'm financially blessed, it's because I'm worldly;

if you're financially blessed, God is rewarding you.

If I'm not financially blessed, it's God's wrath;

if you're not, God is taking you to higher realms as Job.

 

If they give to me, I'm a sponge and a good-for-nothing;

if they give to you, it is the provision of God.

If they don't give to me, I'm reaping what I've sown;

if they don't give to you, they'll be without some day too.

 

When I'm in trouble, it's because of sin;

when you're in trouble, it's an attack of the enemy.

When I'm not in trouble, it's because the enemy knows I'm not a threat;

when you're not in trouble, God is keeping you under the shelter of His wings.

 

When I'm falling, it's the axe now being laid to the root of the tree;

When you're falling, though a righteous man falls seven times, yet is he not utterly cast down.

When I am not falling, how can the dead fall?

When you are not falling, God has given His angels charge over you.

 

If I have all the answers, I'm a know-it-all and nobody can tell me anything;

if you have all the answers, it's because you're anointed, and you know all things.

If I don't have all the answers, I haven't been perfected yet;

if you don't, it is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of man to search it out.

 

If I believe, the devils do too and tremble;

if you believe, you are a son of Abraham.

If I don't believe, I'm an infidel;

if you don't believe, I've never been in your shoes.

 

If I make it, it's only by the grace of God;

if you make it, it's because you've fought the good fight of faith.

If I don’t make it, what else can one expect for a heretic?

if you don’t make it, only the Lord is perfect.

 

If I'm always reading the Bible, the Bible has become my idol;

if you're always reading It, it's because you have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of God.

If I'm not reading the Bible, I'm probably backslidden;

if you're not reading It, you're a sheep who has to take time to chew the cud.

 

If I suffer persecution, so do the J.W.'s;

if you suffer persecution, it is for godliness.

If I don't suffer persecution, I'm not living for Christ;

if you don't, a prudent man sees the danger and hides himself.

 

If I have many friends, the world loves its own;

If you have many friends, the Lord has set the solitary in families.

If I have few friends, I don't show myself friendly;

If you have few friends, you have counted all things but loss for Christ.

 

If I preach loudly and boldly, I'm grandstanding;

If you preach loudly and boldly, the powerful anointing of the Spirit is upon you.

If I don't preach so, I am lukewarm;

if you don't preach so, you are meek and lowly and do not lift up your voice in the streets.

 

If I speak in tongues, I'm possessed;

if you speak in tongues, it is the heavenly tongue of angels.

If I don't speak in tongues, I'm not very spiritual;

If you don't speak in tongues, the perfect has come for you.

 

False prophets were to be stoned and the true believed; so they believed the false and stoned the true.

It is indeed a fault-finding generation and we have all partaken of hypocrisy. It is the will of God in Christ Jesus that we worship Him in spirit and in truth, choosing to believe not what we want to, but what we know to be true, though it be to our loss, remembering that such loss is only temporary and really no loss at all.

If we deceive ourselves we lose. Why should we be so foolish as to choose loss?

Victor Hafichuk

 

 

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