There is a very disturbing trend among the body of Christ today. There are those among us that believe it is their “ministry” to discredit, expose and destroy those who are propagating error. That error is of course as deemed by their interpretation. This criticism is becoming more and more judgmental and carries with it the all too easily label of heretic.

Are we really warning people about false doctrine in order to protect them from shipwreck? Or, are we falling prey to the “accuser of the brethren” in his desire to neutralize our effect in the earth?

One of my spiritual fathers has correctly labeled Facebook as “Defacebook” in connection with all the defamation of character that is found in the posts of those calling themselves Christians. It’s a sad commentary of the general state of the church. Indeed, we tend to forget that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Read through that list a few times before posting something that affects the character and reputation of any individual.

We are citizens of a kingdom where one of the King’s decrees is to “love your enemies and pray for them that despitefully use you.” With an expectation like that, what does this same King expect in how we handle one another? Is it possible that when we feel our brother is wrong, that the Holy Spirit is giving us the mandate of ruining his reputation and ministry by “exposing false doctrine”? The easy answer is NO.

It should also be quite obvious that taking to Facebook or other online outlets on the world wide web is not the place where anyone should be bringing correction to the body of Christ. Sure, we are all free to share what we believe, what God is showing us, what we may be concerned about. However, the key is in the spirit in which we are handling our brothers.

If we are not careful, we will find ourselves guilty of the same failure of two of Jesus’ disciples. In Luke 9, James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven upon some Samaritans that were not receiving Jesus. Jesus rebuked them saying, “you do not know what spirit you are operating in”. The obvious insinuation was that it was not the Holy Spirit. In Mark 9, John told Jesus that he had seen some casting out devils in Jesus’ name, but they were not following “us.” Jesus again was strong I his response saying, “the one who is not against us if for us.”

How many times have we unfairly lobbed our doctrinal grenades and shot flaming arrows of criticism and rebuke toward our brothers in the wrong spirit? If what we do is not grounded in our love for our brother and his welfare, then we are likely in the wrong spirit?

We have to ask questions of ourselves. Do we love truth? If so, remember that truth is first and foremost a person. That person is our Lord, the King, Jesus. He commands us to love as He loves. When you take it upon yourself to correct, instruct and rebuke your brother, are you loving him as Jesus loves him? Ponder these things.

Richard Hamm has been in ministry since 1977. He graduated from Rhema Bible College in 1984 and was pastor at New Life Family Church, Gettysburg, from 1985 to 2008. He is presently involved in a traveling ministry in south central Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. He has been married for 40-plus years to his wife Karen, and has two adult children, Rachel and Jason. He can be contacted at 717-253-3247 or rhhamm2@gmail.com.

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