As a canvasser a few years ago, I was often told that when people reject me at the door, don’t be discouraged, since they’re not rejecting me, they’re rejecting the One who sent me. While I understand where they’re coming from, I never fully agree with that counsel.
I know what they mean to say is that I shouldn’t take myself too seriously; it’s a good discipline against self and pride. But when it’s worded as, “Don’t take it personally,” I can’t help to disagree because, well, shouldn’t ministry be personal? When I know that people reject me not for me, it doesn’t mean I can just turn away skipping and happy as if it were not my problem, especially since I know that they rejecting Someone bigger and much more important than me. In fact, I should be grieved even more.
Am I not a friend of God? Can I ignore His sadness when someone rejects Him? Is this not the purpose of ministry, to be transformed into His character, to be nearer to the heart of God, and to be synchronized with His mind and heart?
There is a difference between being sad because my pride is hurt, and being sad because the One I love is hurt. Ministry is personal. There is no way around it. And it hurts.
That is why, when I hear error being preached, I cannot help being hurt. I cannot not take it personally. I will not pretend like it’s okay, look away like it never happened, or pretend that I’m not affected by it. If someone is talking about my God and spreading lies about Him, I will be offended. Period. This is true for anyone I love.
When you love the truth, you must hate error. It’s only natural, because the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
I may be a struggling Christian and my devotional life may not be perfect like crystal, but I know that I have vowed to love the truth and to stand for God’s Word until I die, and I make no apology for being emotionally involved. Because this thing is personal. It just is.
But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support. The Great Controversy, p. 595.