Helping Those in the "Valley of Decision"-With Wisdom and Courage
Saturday Afternoon, April 27, 2002
Question: Would you briefly give me some direction on how to possibly reach out to someone or walk with someone that you are attempting to reach out to, but cannot actually embrace at this point? I am talking specifically about _____, and I know you know a great deal about the situation. He seems to be trying. Most of the times that we get with him, there is a Teaching situation of some sort. Sometimes it would look like this: we sit in a room and listen to a tape, and then we dialogue as best we can, hoping that he will open up. It gets real awkward, and I’m certain he feels somewhat uncomfortable. He always seems to be holding back something, or at least there is no Spiritual connection for some reason. At the same time, he seems externally to be a really “good guy.” Is there a way that we can sort of plug him into things (golf, etc.) as well as listening to teaching, but do it in a way that can solve the awkwardness problem? You know what I mean? Also, does Deuteronomy 11:18-21 apply in any way? We all are open to what God may show us in this area.
Hey. As for the dude you mention who has been hanging out some, whose wife is noticeably more for Real with Jesus than he is, I guess you could say, as Jesus did, that “those the Father has given us” (Jn. 17) would be the “children” of Deuteronomy 11 that we would commit the intimate areas of our lives to, in the “rising up and sitting down and walking along the way.” If you know the guy is a lifetime commitment of y’all’s, entrusted to your care and lifelong intertwining, then certainly “golf” and other things such as the ballgames, lunchtimes with the brothers, and a hundred other things should be there.
On the other hand, if you can’t honestly say that about him—that he is in the picture of “a hen gathering her chicks,” and the “WOULD” (Jn. 17), instead of “would not” (Mat. 23)—then “awkward” is an OKAY description. If he, when his time is “up” (“one more year”) still has no obvious Reality in him (Mat. 16:18—a LIFE that “flesh and blood did not reveal to him,” a LIFE that is not borrowed vocabulary and borrowed “manners,” but straight from Heaven itself—miraculously “from the Father” Himself), it will NOT help him to pretend. If he is only responding to you and “Jesus” to please others, to avoid the consequences of being “cut off,” for his children’s sake, to be involved or for the fun he might have, or to go along with his wife—then you must say “goodbye” to him, even if he is still living nearby. (The “stench” of self-life, religious or otherwise, is hard to miss if you are discerning.) Certainly, we cannot build with sympathetic leanings, or naïvely accept what Jesus “vomits” or “hates” because we think ourselves more loving and wise and patient than God. We cannot build with GOD and still close our eyes to avoid unpleasant situations or interactions (such as having to say “no” to someone). That is more of MAN’S religion—and we know how pathetically that turns out. It is rebellious (1Cor. 5) and, “If you really love Me, you will obey Me.”
So then, some things will be “awkward” until such a person gives their life away, for REAL. “The Valley of Decision” is a tough (and certainly “awkward”) situation for those going through it, as well as those around them. It’s just part of the deal. Don’t try to escape it or think that it’s a “bad” thing. Childbirth is bloody and dangerous (Gal. 4:19; Acts 3:19-23, 26). If you’ve ever (I’m sure you have) had to cut someone’s hours at work for performance or corporate cut-back reasons, or had to fire someone, or issue a suspension or written warning for a policy violation or performance issue—there just is NO WAY for those “decision points” to not be awkward. And if we water those moments down by making promises or “softening the blow” too much with “work-arounds” or dishonest compliments, then we have sabotaged the value they might have found in it all. They need to suffer a little bit and not receive benefits they should not be welcomed to—in order to have enough incentive to really change. Otherwise, a little Bactine and a Band-Aid don’t get the job done. You can see the analogy, I’m sure.
So, the Wisdom that must come into play is to make sure that the point being made by not being “included” in many situations is clear to them! You don’t have to “prove” anything to them, or “explain” it perfectly (unlike the “work” analogy above, where you had better be able to explain all of the issues and prove everything to the arbiter!). You simply need to say, when appropriate, “_____, it’s hard to explain. It seems like you’re ‘trying,’ but there’s no question that there is something very wrong with you. God’s favor is not upon you and you are not shining with His Countenance or emanating His Spirit or Wisdom. This is in your mind and human will, but the fact that there seems to be little of GOD in it, and there is this continual awkwardness, there is a reason for it—between you and GOD. You are hiding some sin in your life, whether we can ‘prove’ it to you or not. Maybe a sin of commission, perhaps sins of omission where you are holding out on God. While perhaps we can’t ‘prove’ it to you, or tell you ‘exactly’ what it may be, here are some possibilities: _____. Whether it is one of these or not, it is definitely something. Make no mistake about it. The Testimony of the Spirit—‘ABBA! This is one of Daddy’s boys!’—is not there, and there is always a real and tangible reason for that: hidden pride, or deceit, or secret life, or secret loves, or a past coddled instead of repented of and held in disdain sin, or family idolatry, or ‘conditions’ on God of some sort… something, beyond question. We’re with you, if you want to continue to seek for Him with all your heart! We’ll keep trying to help you be set free if you ‘want to be Healed.’ But expect us to be ‘awkward’ at times with you, of course, since (Gal. 3-4) a child and slave are both treated differently than one in SONSHIP.”
And that way of functioning in His House is not our choice. It is what Jesus and the Apostles commanded, if it’s really His House. And think about it. It’s just as reasonable as a kitty cat wanting to be accepted in a litter of bear cubs. How can it happen? In the natural realm, it cannot! Species matter, especially in the Spiritual world. So, we have to say in cases as you describe, “We have a problem, Houston! Don’t ask us to pretend since YOU are the one who would suffer the most from us ‘pretending’ out of carnal sympathy or peer pressure. So, want to proceed and try to work together, awkward as it may be, to try to find out what is between you and God as life unfolds?” That is honest, but not compromising, nor is it unkind, nor ignoring Spiritual Truths to avoid “awkwardness.” It’s everyone’s best chance. Hope that makes sense…