Dear Esther :: July 18, 2016

Dear Esther,

I love your site (column) and have learned so much and really want to thank you for being there for those of us who need direction and answers. I would like to know your thoughts on mean-spirited Christians and them going to heaven. I have known two people in my lifetime who have mentally and physically harmed me. Yet I know they are saved Christians and will be in heaven with me some day.

I need help in understanding how these folks can profess to be such loving people, yet I know they have treated me with such disregard and evilness. One I have, thru the grace of God, been able to forgive and move on from. The second is still in my life and daily has a smile for me in front of folks, but I know the truth behind the smile.

I believe in forgiving and moving on but constant interactions are making my life miserable. I have no current way to distance myself from this person. I am daily in prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to walk with me so I can make it thru another day. Please share your thoughts as to Bible teaching and what you think about Christians who do not treat others, as you would have them treat you.

Thank you so much for your time and love!

Kathy

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Dear Kathy,

I am very sorry to hear your have been treated so badly by those who think of themselves as Christians. What you describe is a huge issue in the Christian church today, and it is a most disturbing problem. Today the Lord is separating the tares from the wheat and I expect in time some shocking revelations will take place as some situations come to light that do not belong in the Body of Christ.

An aggressive hatred can be found emanating from some “Christians,” which is anything but Christian. Those who profess Christ but are back stabbers, gossips, slanderers, and liars will be seriously accountable to God. But sometimes I wonder if such people have a “Hillary Clinton syndrome” thinking they can get away with everything that go against God’s commands.

Remember the Lord warned that in the last days many will have a “form of godliness” but are not true Christians. Many of these phonies are so far away from having a genuine relationship with God that they believe their own contrived delusions; some are even dedicated to trying to ruin the lives of true believers—somehow gaining some sort of sick satisfaction from bad-mouthing and abusing others. This type of deliberate immoral behavior describes evil at work.

[Jesus said,] “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Week after week I get similar letters where believers are desperately seeking a good church, wondering where the true Christians are and why so many people are treated so antagonistically and rudely by those who call themselves Christians. Not only are we living in the apostasy (falling away from the faith) we are also living at a time when in the Church is very prevalent.

When Christians do not treat others well, a number of probabilities exist. Just because some claim to be Christians does not mean that they are truly saved, and that we will see them in heaven. Hypocrisy is a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc. that one does not really possess.

It is most important to forgive under all circumstances. When hypocrisy is a chronic issue with certain people, it is also best to part company if at all possible, and pray for them. If you can have a calm rational conversation with such a person, it is good to try to come to some type of understanding and point out the problems.

But it may be wishful thinking to expect someone to own up to the mistreatment of others and their fraudulent persona, if you already know that person cannot be trusted. Forgive others in your heart but don’t allow yourself to be abused, either.

Kathy, from what you say in your letter, it sounds like whoever it is displaying non-Christian traits (the person you cannot get away from), is playing God for a fool if he or she thinks you can be mistreated and not be held accountable. The good thing is that you can see through this person’s facade.

It is always best to come from a place of love even when you know you are being deceived. It is natural to feel outrage and defend yourself when injustice first comes to light. But then give the entire situation over to the Lord and He will deal with the evil behind such situations.

Since you cannot get away from the troublesome person who is slandering you, the best thing to do is keep your conversation and interaction to a minimum. Prayer can change things and even phony Christians can come to repentance; never give-up hope. Smile, be cordial but keep an emotional distance between the two of you.

This can even be done on a daily basis if need be. Let the Lord be your anchor. He will lead and navigate your way when forced to deal with someone you know does not have your best interests at heart. You have God’s favor Kathy, because you belong to Him. Those with hidden motives are an abomination to the Lord:

“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22).

When we use the term “phony” or “fake” Christian, let’s clarify that a bit. We are either saved or we are not. If the Spirit of God does not reside within us, we do not belong to Him. When I say “phony” or “fake” Christian, I mean someone who professes to be a Christian, even shows some outward signs by perhaps getting involved in a church or ministry but their heart condition is not right—they are not truly born-again by the Spirit of God even if they claim to be.

When we are truly saved and consistently surrendered to the Holy Spirit we can recognize traits in others that do not ring true. As believers we should always pay attention to those inner promptings or warnings.

The worst types of so-called Christians are those who make disparaging statements against other true believers—claiming that the “Holy Spirit” is leading them to believe and say slanderous things about another. (So now they have God on the side of their evil agenda!)

But it is clearly their own delusion to support their convoluted thinking about someone or something. Or worse, cover-up their own devious agenda and corrupt character; this type of behavior usually stems from jealousy, lies perpetrated by unethical individuals, and the of a genuine solid relationship with Christ.

People like this are tragically playing on the wrong team. Apparently they do not take the God of the Bible seriously or else they would realize that they are doing nothing less than acting as Satan’s representatives, paving their own way to hell.

These phonies have no discernment because they have a dishonest relationship with God, or the “discernment” they think they have is wrong all together because they are not truly walking with the Lord. Disparaging statements fabricated by these devious individuals are always assumptive judgments founded on nothing but personal envy, hatred, or stubborn prideful arrogance.

Perhaps you have called out someone on their lack of authenticity, and he or she didn’t like it. Now you have become a target of their rage. Sadly, these dynamics exist not only in the world, but have infiltrated the Christian church.

The majority of believers are very sincere God-fearing folks. It is the rotten apples that make a bad name for the rest of us. These people are playing a dangerous spiritual game with their eternal fate.

[Jesus said,] “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).

As we mature in the Christian faith our personalities must show signs of ongoing spiritual growth—such as genuine kindness that does not mercilessly judge others irrationally or instigate conflict by making false accusations. How a person speaks to, and treats others is a strong indicator of their relationship with the Lord.

If our relationship with people is not right our relationship with the Lord is not right, either. Any number of people can tell you they love the Lord (or you) all day long but if that love is not evidenced by their actions and demeanor, then their genuine position in Christ is highly questionable.

A truly saved person’s heart should yearn to spend time with the Lord and please Him, and that relationship with the Lord will translate into treating others with sincere kindness and respect.

Beware of “Christians” who can help you get ahead in your chosen field or solve a personal dilemma, but choose not to; yet proud as a peacock they stand before the world professing Christ blowing their own horn of importance (even pretending humility).

“So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20).

We are to be new creations in Christ and not living recklessly in the flesh:

“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we knowHim thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17).

Our salvation does not depend on works, but if the spirit-man is bitter and angry then the Spirit of God cannot do the renewal work necessary. Only the Lord knows who is truly saved, and since we are all prone to sin until the day we die we must be careful not to confuse a fallen brother or sister with one who is an outright phony.

We can rely on Scripture to guide us to the truth. We know faith without works is dead (James 2:17). We know that when we are born-again and saved we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and our actions and words are reflective of God’s teachings.

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Romans 8:9-10

[Jesus said,] “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:15-20)

The Old Testament prophet, Daniel, predicted that there would be an abundance of hypocrites in the end-times, as the cost of faith could be your life or loss of a job, “friendships” or anything that non-Christians might find offensive about one’s faith in Christ.

“Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time” (Daniel 11:34-35).

Hypocrisy goes way back in time. When Cain and Abel brought offerings to God, Cain was being a hypocrite by pretending to love God by bringing offerings to Him (but God pointed out his hypocrisy). Hypocritical professing Christians are also very symptomatic of these last days.

In fact one of the major complaints against Christians is that so many are hypocrites. The Bible clearly teaches that those who practice hypocrisy really aren’t Christians at all, but will be judged to be non-believers and sent to hell, and later into the lake of fire. Jesus warned that many would fall away although they would claim to be His disciples at the White Throne Judgment:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

In the following Scripture Jesus is furious over those who present themselves as the righteous in public but inside, their hearts are wicked. Jesus is pointing to the phony rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of the false worshippers.

[Jesus said,] “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”

Some people are all about playing games, competing for power and control just like the rest of the world—thinking that they are above accountability to God. A strong case could be made for those who are even deluding themselves into thinking they are doing work for the Lord but are really living for their own selfish gain (adulation, fame, peer acceptance, popularity, etc.). A life of pretense and compromised living by a “believer” is something that cannot be taken lightly.

When the intentions of the heart are not genuinely of the Lord, of course the Lord knows the truth and those people will have to answer to Him. Another thing to consider is that some people are truly not well, and are deeply disturbed.

They have mental and emotional disorders that are somewhat disguised in their common day-to-day interactions, but when chronic meanness and ungodly character erupts often enough for discerning folks to notice, then something is truly amiss.

When you recognize again and again that some people are not really sincere by the things they say and do, you can be sure that their motives are very questionable. Some people who profess Christ as Savior, but clearly show signs of habitual meanness may get into heaven on the basis of insanity (because of a serious mental/emotional illness) and are not in their right minds and cannot control themselves.

But only God knows the truth about such individuals. How He will judge them we cannot know for sure. Some might enter heaven only because they are too mentally or emotionally ill to fully grasp the gospel message and live by God’s precepts. But we can only speculate. However, this world is so cursed that far too many people know exactly what they are doing when they behave badly.

Some people will excuse very bad behavior and stubborn prideful arrogance by calling such dynamics, a “sin factor.” Well, that is true but only to a point. When a person is guilty of stirring up trouble and trying to undermine others, sin is a huge problem.

But when the troubling behavior is an ongoing deep-rooted condition repeatedly creating conflict and divisiveness, then the problem is even more serious.

I would call it a salvation problem or a very serious, fatal backslidden condition. Sin without repentance equals a fallen brother or sister or a person who is not saved to begin with. Unless a backslidden person genuinely repents he or she may very well face a very bleak eternal future:

“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, andthen have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).

The Lord has given us enough information in His Word so we are not fooled by those involved in the Christian life but have hidden agendas and dark motives. He is also a merciful God and will judge each person justly. (Unlike the way many professing Christians unjustly judge others.) But God is not a push over who will tolerate spiritual mutiny at the expense of the good character of others and His holy name.

We can take great comfort in knowing that God is not mocked and when wicked people try to cause trouble, we can count on the Lord to make things right. If not necessarily in this life, but in our eternal lives when we will be free of this cursed earth and its evil attributes.

So be of good cheer, Kathy. Despite the nasty person you must deal with, our redemption draws closer each day. All those who spitefully use us and hurt us will have King Jesus to answer to.

You will surely see those who are truly redeemed, those who are “new creatures in Christ” in heaven. As far as those who show little or no heart for repentance and claim to be Christians, but have two-faced double-dealing characters, I would not hold my breath.

While the Lord is separating the tares from the wheat, reach out to others with the gospel while there is still time. The more we focus on the Lord and His promises of glory, the less the mean-spirited agendas of others will be of any significance. And always remember you are already victorious in Christ, and nothing anyone tries to do to you in this life will take you away from Him and your fantastic eternal future.

God bless you Kathy!

Esther

“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but isearthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:14-17).


Dear Esther,

I am wondering if you could provide a glossary of words with their definitions. I often run into in articles that I have to look up but then I have to also determine if I agree with them.

While it may seem easy for most, I often get confused because of the wealth of information on the Internet that it may take me an hour or more to see if my understanding is correct.

In addition, I meet so many people with different views that it would be helpful to have a safe place to reference things quickly when I need to or because I have simply forgotten.

Thank you so very much for bringing God glory in all that you do!

In Him,

Debra

“A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by man.” —Leonard Ravenhill

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Dear Debra,

Thank you for your kind sentiments. It is my blessing to be of help, even in the smallest way. You are not the only one who finds many interpretations of Scripture and varied definitions of biblically related text— to be the cause of much confusion.

As much as the vast avenues of information can be a tremendous blessing, some of the dynamics that go on remind me of a “Wild West” high-stakes gambling showdown where a potpourri of self-styled, self-anointed “spiritual” and Pop Christian “gurus” put down stakes (their websites, blogs, etc.), vying to win the big pot (adulation, fame, glory, money).

This Wild West showdown has prompted many non-Christians to dismiss the authenticity of the Bible. Misinformation on the Internet, in books and various printed mediums is widespread. This is a real problem in the Church and the only way to overcome it is to study our Bibles as much as possible—so whenever we hear or read something we will be better equipped to separate truth from fiction:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Sometimes Bible Study can seem like a daunting task in this world of instant gratification. But we must be like the Bereans of old and persevere so we are not led astray. You know that all true believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and He teaches us:

“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:27).

When we use the Golden Rule of Interpretation we can be assured of using reliable sound exegesis:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate content, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicates clearly otherwise.

In other words, take everything literally unless the Scriptures say it is symbolic, or unless it is physically impossible for it to be literal or be fulfilled in a literal manner, with the exception of miracles.

I do have a PDF glossary linked below which you and our readers can download and print out as a reference. I hope you and others will find it to be beneficial.

Never underestimate your ability to understand Scripture. What might seem like a huge effort at first can soon become a joyous and rewarding experience, which will reap many blessings. When we study our Bibles we are spending time with the Lord. What can be better than that?

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).

God bless you Debra, and reach out again if you need to—anytime.

In God’s love,

Esther

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).