Considering Our Response to a Road-To-Damascus Encounter

I know that I’m not God. My sins and weaknesses make it easy enough to grasp that truth, as well as its corollary: I am not omniscient. But what I don’t like to face is the implications of those truths: I am wrong about some of my dearly held beliefs.

We all hold convictions that are incorrect. Not one of us is perfect in mindset. For this reason, it would be wise for all of to check our hearts: Do we want God to let us know where we are wrong?

The Challenge

Here is an exercise that we should all try once in a while:

Choose a topic of disagreement which has to do with the nature of humans, or God, or morality, or spirituality, or yours or someone else’s personal choices. Choose one. Choose one you’ve recently felt to be important.

Now consider your response if you found yourself being told by God that you were wrong. What if a voice stopped you where you were and said, “You are against me in this matter” and you knew this was the voice of God?

How Paul and Peter Responded

We know what Paul did after his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus – the man who for months had been putting his resources into destroying the new Christian church –  he repented: “And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’” (Acts 9:20 ESV) It was such a complete reversal that many had difficulty believing it.

We also know how Peter responded to his vision from God telling him to interact with Gentiles: “If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:17)

Consider other ways they could have responded. They could have said, “Here’s an instance where God must be wrong”.  Or, “If Jesus is the son of God, then I can’t worship that God”. Or, “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that and keep acting like I was before I heard it.” Or, “I could never believe in/worship/obey a God that says that”.

Back To Us

Now consider this happening to you – God appearing to you and telling you that you’re wrong about …

Whether or not women should be in leadership
Whether or not homosexual behavior is wrong
When divorce is permissible
How you should vote
What kind of swimsuits should people wear?
Should people be KJV Only?
What does it take to get to heaven?
Is the Calvinist, Arminian or Open Theist view correct?

Imagine the Son of God making himself known to you audibly and saying, “Beloved child, on this topic, you are heading the wrong way.” For those of us with strong opinions, the temptation is there. We might be angry. We might reject the idea because we think it unfair – too lenient or too cruel. Or at worst, we might decide we can no longer believe in him. But the proper response is to have the humility to say, “I am not God. He knows more than me.”

Here is the warning – if our first thought about this possibility causes anger, or pride or stubbornness, then it may be we are overly biased about this. We may be choosing our own view over God’s.

Our Source of Truth

Now this kind of encounter with God is rare, so we shouldn’t expect this to happen to us. Happily, however, most important issues are answered clearly in God’s word if we are willing to look honestly.

I am aware that there are many with passions strong enough that when they see truths in scripture they don’t like, they do one of two things: (1) cross them out of the pages, literally or figuratively, or (2) use eisegesis on the passage – pour their own meaning or opinions into what it says so that it will conform to what they want to be true. And they find churches which agree with their worldviews.

This is what Paul said would happen: The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Our Prayer

With that in mind, here is the sobering main point: if I think it possible that I’d have difficulty accepting a truth from God if he appeared to me visibly, it’s quite likely that I won’t be willing to see God’s truth in this matter even if it’s made clear in the Bible.

May God give us wisdom to see this in ourselves and not set ourselves up as gods who know best. We might be wise to begin regularly praying (perhaps before we read scripture), “Dear Father, show me where I’m wrong.”

The only correct way to finish the sentence that begins with, “I could not believe in a God who…” is this: “…is not the same as the description of him in His Word.”

And not “… really doesn’t feel right to me.”

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