Here is the opening statement introducing the “Coffee with the Lord” group on Facebook… “I post uplifting reflections on this site from my daily devotions.”
I really try to focus on following that statement… “I post UPLIFTING reflections!” I have a concern however that surfaced during my devotional Bible reading today…
Positive, uplifting messaging, whether in writing or oral communication, can become almost a fixation! In fact, it can actually end up distorting a healthy Biblical message! I know – and I believe you are aware, if you think about it – of professed messengers of the Gospel (the “Good News”) who actually present an unbalanced, unhealthy, misleading and dangerous message by their myopic focus only upon the “positive.”
I love the positive message as much as anyone! It encourages, it soothes, it comforts, it heals… it “feels” good! But it may also distort what God actually wants to say that removes guilt, brings salvation, and wholeness. A case in point is the message to Judah from God through the prophet Jeremiah. There were prophets at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah’s exile to Babylon that were predicting a period of “brief unpleasantness” – only two years and then restoration. Jeremiah’s message was more severe – but it was God’s message – 70 years! If you take the popular positive verse from Jeremiah 29, and read it devoid of its context, it becomes a distorted message: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plan for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope!” The context however is not simply encouragement – it is also warning, and a presentation of God’s purposes for His people through the Heavenly Father’s discipline (read verses 1-23 of the chapter and compare it with Hebrews 12:5-11)
So again today I read another of Jeremiah’s prophecies – one that put him in the deep, dangerous muck of the “cistern of Malkijah!” Jeremiah actually proclaimed and prophesied, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live! … This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it!’” (Jeremiah 38:2-3) Not the positive message you’d like to hear if you lived in Jerusalem at the time! But it was God’s message!
So here’s the personal note I jotted in the margin of my Bible this morning… “It is not God’s will for God’s messengers to always share a positive, uplifting message! Sometimes it is important to deliver “reality therapy” and call to repentance and warn others as their pathway to healing, help, and hope!” Listen, as God’s messenger I want to post “uplifting reflections” in “Coffee with the Lord” as much as I can. But hear me, I also want them to reflect what God wants to say, without distortion!?