A guy emailed me this week to ask my opinion on a well-known Christian leader. Prophet or a heretic? It was a valid question. A discussion I’ve seen floating around emails, blogs, and internet chat rooms for years.
But as I was preparing my (obviously brilliant and insightful) answer, I paused. Were this guy’s assumptions formulated on first hand knowledge or was he simply regurgitating the thoughts and opinions of others? Better yet, was the answer I was preparing to fire off with reckless abandon founded on my personal convictions or a conglomeration of things I had heard others say?
The reality? I had no idea what I was talking about.
I had never read a book, listened to a message, even viewed a tweet post of the leader in question. Yet I was about to wax eloquence on his character and calling. The validity of His message. I was preparing to vomit a bunch of other people’s opinions that supported my preconceived notions and validated my worldview. Even if I had been factually right, I think I would have been terribly wrong.
The Bible is very clear in its warning to test what we hear:
“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
-1 John 4:1 (MSG)
But I wonder how many times I’ve abdicated that responsibility?
I’m not condoning a lone-ranger lifestyle. We need the correction and accountability that comes from solid community. I’ve had the revelations of others open my mind to incredible insights I would have never seen on my own. But many of us are too quick to blindly adapt to a position handed to us by someone else. Usually someone who can talk faster, think quicker, or has a nice looking blog.
Have we lost the ability to wrestle for the truth? Or maybe just the desire? Are we afraid? Weak? Just give me the answer (or better yet, post it on Facebook. That’s more efficient).
For some, faith itself is cheap. Lazy. A faded copy of an old picture someone else handed to you.
I don’t want to live that way. To lead that way. A collection of Twitter re-tweets and Facebook shares. I want my own encounter with the Creator of the Universe. I want to hear Him whisper my name. To speak to the deep places of my heart. To know His voice. To live with His conviction.
But don’t take my word for it. Let Him tell you Himself.