When driving Paul Young to the airport after speaking at our church, he expressed to me how refreshing the weekend had been for him, particularly after the difficulties of the week before. I asked him to elaborate, and after a moment of hesitation, he said that he had learned that a friend and fellow minister had recently turned on Paul and was sending out mailings to churches detailing how Paul Young was a "heretic." Paul was surprised to learn that I had not received a package myself.
I asked Paul what he intended to do in response to the mailings. He was silent for a moment and said, "Nothing." Paul went on to explain that his mission in life was not to correct the mistatements of his opponents. In years past he would have felt the need to correct the incorrect opinions that others had of him, but having now come to an incredible sense of his own worth to Christ, it was neither necessary nor beneficial to put out fires about his character and integrity started by others. The conversation was refreshing and reminded me that . . .
(1). I'd much rather be around a person with a gracious spirit and a secure sense of his personhood, even though I may disagree with this person doctrinally, than to keep the company of a mean-spirited person - even though we may be in complete agreement doctrinally. To phrase it a little stronger - I sometimes wonder if there are those who give mental assent to evangelical truth, but have been still-born spiritually, possessing none of the divine life of God in them - life evidenced by love for people (John 13:35).
(2). I am convinced that one of the greatest evidences of strong character and genuine security is the lack of desire to silence one's detractors and accusers. Insecurity is the mother of twins named control and intimidation. A secure soul, finding genuine and ultimate satisfaction in Christ, responds to criticism, personal attacks, and derogatory statements with a genuinely gracious spirit. That's not to say there are not times when a response is needed to false accusations, but even when those rare occasions arise, the tone and tenor of the response says far more than the response itself.
In His Grace,