Please Pardon My Emotions
Evangelist Dwight Smith
Please Pardon my emotions, at least for a moment. I try, much of the time, to keep them in check, but just now, would you allow me some latitude as they spill over? You ask the reason for this excess? It is those who compromise the truth.
During the many years I have known the Lord and have studied His Word, I have observed different ones, both old and young, both close friends and distant acquaintances, hold to a position of truth and then depart. They have campaigned for the truth. They have supported the truth. They have given verbal assent to the truth. Then for one reason or another they have abandoned their position of truth. Their previous convictions have been clearly supported from Scripture. They have been passed from one generation to the next. They have been vital to the health and well-being of God’s people. They have been the key to the necessary spread of the gospel. Yet for whatever reason, they have been discarded by those who, at one time, held to them, stood for them, and championed them.
When I see this kind of departure, be it whole-sale sellout or subtle in nature, I have three emotions that rise to the surface and bubble over. Please pardon the outburst. First, I laugh incredulously. “Is this a joke?” I ask. “Seriously?” I say. “Not him? Not really? Not now?” I query. But, alas, too often it is true. Those who once took a Bible stand; those who once stood for God’s holiness and Scriptural principle; those who once carried the baton of truth from one generation to the next; those who refused to give in to the winds of detrimental change, suddenly or slowly caved. They may yield because of family pressure. It may be because of their private worldly choices. It may be due to the current of society. Whatever the case, I laugh, not in joy, but in disbelief.
At a time of such consequence, this is not the moment to follow the example of the twelve at Christ’s crucifixion. “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). In a day when Biblical doctrine and Scriptural principle must be upheld, we certainly should not be allowing the world’s current to sweep us away as did Demas (II Timothy 4:10). It may be a joke, but it is not a funny one. The truth is, I’m not the only one laughing. The world laughs whenever compromise seduces another of God’s servants. Can you hear them laughing at Samson as they cut off his hair, bind his hands, gouge out his eyes, and replace the donkey with this former heavyweight champion? Can you hear them mock him, his people, his principles, and his Maker as they lead his blind frame into their feast? “Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us. And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson that he may make us sport” (Judges 16:23-25). What a shame! What a tragedy! May it never be said that those reading these words, who know the Lord and are growing in Christ, choose to compromise the Truth of the Scripture and besmirch the name of Jesus. If you do, and I hear of it, my laughter may spill out, but know this: it is incredulous. Please pardon my emotions.
Secondly, I am stirred with righteous indignation. We were on the same team. We worked for the same goal. We sought the same end result, and now, it no longer matters? How can this be? We sought the Lord together. We were following the same guiding and Biblical principles. Now they can be discarded like one changes their socks? How does this honor God? After the laugh of disbelief, there wells within me a good bit of anger, properly placed I might say. This anger stems from a sense of betrayal. It is rooted in righteousness. It follows the examples of the heroes of faith and the Savior Himself. Consider the indignation of Moses against idolatry and Aaron’s compromise in Exodus 32:19. His “anger waxed hot.” I don’t suppose Samuel was anything but fuming at compromise and its by-product when he “hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal” (I Samuel 15:33). Have you thought of the anger of Elijah against the worship of Baal? After the Lord’s victory on the top of Mt. Carmel, Elijah brought the prophets of Baal “down to the brook and slew them there” (I Kings 18:40). I don’t imagine Paul had a Pollyanna smile on his face when, in Galatians 2:11, he “withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed.” And what of our matchless Savior who provided an example of righteous indignation by overthrowing “the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves” (Matthew21:12)? There certainly is Biblical precedent for godly anger against compromise of the truth, weakness of character, and a lack of integrity. If you should give way to the enemy or give your OK to error, you can expect an explosion against your sin from this corner of the world. Just consider it a good trait coming from one who is trying to follow the example of his Master and please, if you will, pardon my emotions.
The last evidence of shock I display may be a bit harder to see. Usually it doesn’t show itself in public. It is a bit more personal than the others. When I see the compromise of the truth by ones I know and love, somewhere, after the controversy dies down, I slip away into a quiet place and weep genuine tears! My heart is grieved when someone departs from the Truth they once claimed to love. Isn’t this the emotional response we ought all have?
In I Samuel 15:10, when the Lord told Samuel that Saul’s disobedience had ended his ministry, “it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.” It was David who grieved when those with whom he once worshipped God had betrayed him. He said, “My heart is sore pained within me” (Psalm 55:4). What about Jeremiah whose tears had become a river? He declared, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people” (Jeremiah 9:1)! Can you hear the tears in his voice, when Paul said, “No man stood with me, but all men forsook me” (II Timothy 4:16)?
I weep over compromise because it violates God’s Word. I weep because it jeopardizes the mission of the Lord’s church and every Christian. I weep for souls who will perish, because the truth was compromised and the gospel was lost. I weep because, instead of spreading the truth, it is sold for a mess of pottage and 30 pieces of silver. Then the next generation fails to see its import and heed its warning and, before long, they are headed to hell without any concern over their own plight!
I have seen family members compromise the truth of the Bible. I have watched friends sell out to an easier way. I have observed fellow preachers yield to the world, the flesh, and the Devil. I have seen churches, I once was a member of, depart from their moorings, and they remain adrift. I have seen men of great influence kick out of the trenches and seek a short cut from the high road. Sometimes the compromise is public and shameless. Sometimes it is personal and later revealed. Sometimes the weakness happens gradually over time. Sometimes suddenly someone disavows a Scriptural position. No matter how it happens, it is always tragic! It always brings tears to my eyes. It always grieves the heart of God.
For the sake of the Truth of Scripture, for the sake of the name of Christ, for the sake of the sound proclamation of the gospel, for the sake of future generations, for the sake of your family, and for the sake of everything that is good and decent and right, don’t compromise! Don’t yield to the enemy! Don’t give in to Satan’s devices. If you do, you should know, that somewhere there will be a preacher who, after an incredulous laugh and after an indignant outburst, will be hiding away in the corner of somewhere weeping. Please pardon my emotions.