Am I Trouble?

Over the years I have witnessed many things within the Assembly of the Body of Christ  which deeply disturbed me. To this point I have remained mostly silent, and even to some point participative.  Someone once said to me "There are things that are bad, but they are not truly bad until they happen to you. Then they are completely bad."  It is such a true statement I ended up using it with many of my clients. However I only truly understood it after I was ambushed by Bruce Leonard, Andy Atwell and the company of silent men they had with them.

Over the years, after I was ambushed and then ex-communicated, my silence has inwardly disturbed me. I had been trained well that you "don't make waves" to "protect the unity of the body". Many people, over the years, have expressed to me their dismay at the emotional, spiritual and, in the case of children, downright physical abuse that was occurring in the ABC but were afraid to say anything. They felt, just like I then that  they would be "speaking against God's anointed".  I had been trained in this manner since I was fourteen so to even begin to speak out was  a struggle. The few times I actually did I was severely "disciplined".  What we all failed to realize is that we are all God's anointed and the leadership had no special right to this designation.

On February 16, 2008 I prayed about my silence. The very next morning I received the correspondence quoted below from a gentleman who knows nothing about what I, and others, have gone through at the hands of the ABC. I considered it an answer to my prayer and, despite any pain or anxiety it may bring me, I pledged to begin telling what I know of the ABC, and its abuses, so more will not be hurt. If I am successful...praise God. If I am not...then I will have done my part and my hands are clean. Here is the correspondence I received:

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is it you, you troubler of Israel?" And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals." (1 Kings 18:17,18; ESV)

The prophet Elijah lived during a very difficult time in the history of Israel. He was appointed by God to confront King Ahab. King Ahab was the most evil king of Israel to date (see 1 Kings 16:30). The intensity of his evil was partly due to his marrying Jezebel; a princess of the city of Sidon. It appears that she encouraged Ahab in the establishment in Israel of the worship of the false god Baal.

God sent Elijah to prophesy to Ahab of the coming three-year drought (see 1 Kings 17:1ff). After Elijah gave Ahab this message, Elijah went into hiding. For those of us from countries with ample water supply, it is difficult to fully appreciate what this means. At that time in history, the land of Israel was very dependent upon rainfall, even more than it is today. Drought inevitably led to famine, which meant national disaster. Lack of rain, therefore, would be understood as a sign of God's displeasure.

After the three-year period, we come to the interchange that includes what I quoted at the start. Ahab's first words to Elijah were, "Is it you, you troubler of Israel?" - an accusation which Elijah contradicted. He would not allow Ahab to transfer the blame for Israel's troubles from the true villain to himself.

But isn't Ahab's accusation typical? True trouble makers will shift the blame for the trouble they cause to the ones who expose their bad behavior. I don't think one has to be a psychologist to understand what is going on here. What it comes down to is that real trouble makers don't want their bad behavior confronted. They want to do what they want to do without having to face the consequences. They will protect themselves by any means, which almost always includes attacking anyone who gets in their way. In this case, Ahab used blame shifting. He did so, because it is often effective. Elijah brought the bad news of God's judgment on the nation. Ahab may not have been the only one who put the blame on Elijah, when the real cause of the disaster was Ahab and his evil ways.

People whom God uses to deal with evil today are often the last people who want to make trouble. In fact, they want to speak up out of a desire to avoid trouble, not make more trouble. They care deeply about people and are sensitive to the consequences of bad behavior. So they speak up. And what happens? They are the ones who are called trouble makers.

This is enough to shut some down. They may even believe these accusations. At one level life seemed more peaceful before they spoke up. They forget what it was that originally spurned them on. They forget the origin of the trouble. They take the blame, and the real trouble makers continue as before.

If you are someone God has called to speak out, then you mustn't be afraid to do what Elijah did. He contradicted Ahab to his face by saying, "I have not troubled Israel, but you have...". If God has called you to speak, then don't back down. Don't take the blame for trouble you have not caused. Keep close to the Lord, and let him guide you as to what you should and should not say and do. Don't let your critics confuse and intimidate you. When the true trouble makers call you, "trouble," it most likely means you are doing a good job.


Will Riddle said...

Brother, you're on the right track. I listened to the recovery university tapes which were outstanding, and I am convinced that a major part of Jesus ministry was as "troubler of Israel" Speaking out against those who abuse the sheep is part of our calling.

Pamela P said...

Hey Scott, this is has been so freeing to read your writings. I am also learning about some early stuff that was obviously was a "secret". I have been reading for hours.... wow did not know where you stood. Amazing!