By Sandra Sheridan
2 John 7 “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.”
I can’t tell you how important it is to verify the truth of someone’s word before supporting his or her message. There are many in the world today who speak with great authority and charisma about spiritual things, but who are miles away from what God says is right and true. It is crucial to check the message before supporting it.
For the past two weekends we have attended numerous high school graduation parties and enjoyed all the fun, fellowship, and food. As is customary, we brought a gift for each graduate and were glad to encourage each of them with a small token of recognition for their accomplishments.
I keep a stack of cards in our desk, so we wrote a note of congratulations and included a small money gift with each one. This weekend we were headed to another party and I wrote the note to the graduate. I finished it with our family signature and was about to slip it into the envelope when I happened to notice the message on the back of the card. I was horrified to see that the touching words were quoting the scriptural declaration that “two shall become one,” a message geared toward a couple’s getting married rather than to a student’s graduating from high school.
My horror deepened as I realized that we had already given out ten or more of these cards to other graduates. SOMEONE (I promised Dad I would not embarrass him) did not read the message on the front of the cards before enclosing them in their envelopes. Oops!
So, Sheridan kids, please tell all your graduating friends who received a wedding card from us that we were not trying to hurry them toward matrimony.
It is a good lesson, though. Too often we support a Bible message or Christian cause just because it sounds good or because the teacher is well known. Without taking the time to fully listen or read the message, we give our stamp of approval. This is a very unwise habit!
Jesus’ disciple, John wrote a warning letter to a very generous woman who was supporting traveling teachers of God’s message. In those days traveling preachers relied on the generosity of other believers to give them a place to stay and food to eat. This godly woman was doing just that.
After commending her for her kindness and generosity, John warned her to carefully check the teaching of those she was accommodating. He knew there were many deceivers who did not acknowledge that Jesus had come in the flesh. By helping them she could be party to the spread of lies and all of what had already been accomplished by the true gospel message would be in danger of being lost.
This warning applies to us today as well. There are still many in the world espousing spiritual views that are completely opposed to God’s word. Often they will have parts of their messages that sound good. If we do not compare what is being taught with what God says in His word, we risk being led astray and causing others to be ruined as well.
So let me give a word to the wise: make very sure you clearly understand what message is being given before you agree to it or support it. Because if you are not careful, the consequences will be much worse and more embarrassing than if you just make a graduation card blunder. – Love, Mama
Sandra Sheridan is a Greene County resident and weekly guest columnist.