Seeking the Truth, or Seeking To Destroy?
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
Few things fill my heart more than sharing the Good News with others, especially with those who are sincerely seeking a relationship with God. Sometimes, however, those seeking to undermine the Christian belief disguise themselves as men and women seeking a relationship but have questions. Much like the religious leaders who confronted Jesus with questions meant to cast doubt on his authority and his teachings. And, like Jesus, Christians should be able to answer any and all questions with knowledge and authority.
In Mark 12:13-15, the religious leaders ask Jesus if it is right to pay taxes. The question itself seems innocent enough until you consider the ramifications that could arise from the answer. This was during the Roman occupation and anyone who did not pay taxes faced harsh penalties. The people hated paying taxes because the monies supported their oppressors. So, if Jesus answered yes, he faced the wrath of the public because it would seem that He, too, supported Rome and its pagan lifestyle. However, if He answered no, it could be viewed as rebellion against Rome and bring about accusations of treason. So what answer did Jesus give? Mark 15-17 tells us:
“But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. ‘Why are you trying to trap me?’ He asked. ‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ They brought the coin and He asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’
‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.
‘Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’
And they were amazed at Him.”
Through discernment, Jesus was able to see through their duplicity and even told them so. Yet, He answered their question with authority. Not with insult. Not with lofty phrasing. He answered simply and plainly, but with a wisdom that the Bible states amazed his detractors.
When faced with those offering dissenting points of view disguised as “honest Christian dialogue”, let’s make sure we have a solid understanding of the Word before engaging in conversation. If one doesn’t have that understanding, the dialogue can quickly dissolve into meaningless back and forth banter that does nothing to enlighten but instead highlights both parties’ lack of Scriptural knowledge. Stay in prayer and study the Word so you can answer questions meant to trap and frustrate. You never know, the person asking the questions may be so impressed with your response that his or her heart turns away from this deceitful practice and honestly seeks a relationship with God.