While Cheryl and I were travelling, we booked a room with a hotel chain we frequently use. After checking in, she gave the room the once over while I began unloading the bag cart. I heard her say from the bathroom, “This is not good!” The tub/shower had a hair around the drain and walls. The floor and vanity were filthy. As we searched elsewhere, we pulled back the sheets and one bed had obviously been slept in and the sheets were not changed. Behind a padded chair we found a large black bug about an inch long. It was dead (Cheryl says, “Thank You, Jesus!).
I called the manager who arrived minutes later with his housekeeper. We pointed out the issues, but he replied that he did not understand the problem. He asked his housekeeper to tell us about the procedures they use to clean the rooms. I informed him that I was not interested in those procedures, but only in a clean room. After a bit of back and forth he finally said that because of our fastidiousness, it was apparent that he was not going to be able to please us with another room. My reply was, “Obviously not.”
That story illustrates the problem with discernment. It isn’t that discernment is a problem in and of itself, but that it always uncovers what people either do not wish to see, or are unable to see. This is especially true in the case of heresy and heretics. Deception has severed them from the truth necessary to recognizing the heresy or heretic. Discernment had to be disarmed in order for that to occur. Our loving God knows that this is a problem with humanity, so He gave the gift of discernment to individuals in the Body. They are able to see by assistance of the Holy Spirit what has avoided discovery by other people.
Deceived individuals do not wish to recognize the exposure for various reasons. However, all those reasons are rooted in the fact that they spiritually or physically attached to the object of discernment’s focus. They either enjoy it, are enamored by it, feel comfortable with it, it fits well with everything else in their lives, etcetera.
Additionally, they are unable to recognize the expose’ because they are immature, or unknowledgeable, or unstable, untaught, and, at the risk of sounding condescending, some are ignorant.
I have advised, debated, and spent hours attempting to convince deceived people of deception. It is nearly impossible to convince them that they are deceived. In the case of a heretic, people are not easily convinced that the heretic is bad no matter how high one stacks evidence to the contrary. Prying them away is not usually an option, especially if they are an adult.
There is one particular type of person that is just as that hotel manager. They live with error every day and have become so familiar with it that pointing it out to them is fruitless. What a discerning person may find wrong and even repulsive, they believe it is right and refreshing. They glory in their shame. Further, they are convinced that the problem is with you. You are a judgmental, harsh, critical, mean-spirited, possibly demonic, splinter hunter. They are convinced that the problem(s) would go away if you would go away. However, the hair is still in the tub, the vanity is filthy, and the bed is soiled. And the bug is still behind the chair.
Here is a sticky note to folks who have accepted heretics and their heresy. People with the gift of discernment are not going away until Christ comes to get His Bride. The reason is because God is love. The prophet, as harsh as he may seem and as hated as he often is, is a product of God’s love. The discerning Christian who dares to call out the heretic and his or her heresy is a manifestation of God’s love. However, just as the child that has been disciplined by a parent cries out, “You hate me!” the deceived views as hate God’s loving attempt to set them free from the bondage of deception. Satan makes certain of that!
God can no more stop warning them than He could stop loving them. And His people with the gift of discernment can no more stop speaking the truth than they can cease loving God and people.
It would be cruel to know essential truth and withhold it because people were offended by it. In my opinion, it is a sin to watch someone drawn into deception, being led deeper into apostasy, and never speak or write a word of warning. There was a time when we all rejected God, did not recognize or accept His truth, and refused to believe that people who attempted to inform us had our best interests at heart. But God kept loving us, and He kept sending the truth. As long as someone says, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” He will not cease to lavish His truth upon the ones trapped in deception and darkness.