I. Twisted Words
Satan is a word-twister. When he first approached Eve, he asked “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the garden?'” – Genesis 3:1. He was twisting God’s words, using innuendos to cast doubt about God’s character and intentions. This remains Satan’s method today, in order to cause division. He twists words, which causes mistrust, which causes offense, which results in division.
The more we serve the Lord and become more like Yeshua, the more there will be attacks against us of miscommunication and twisted words. It will seem as if people are waiting to catch you in one word and blow it out of proportion in order to accuse you (Luke 20:20).
There will be a flood of words coming out of the mouth of the devil to overwhelm you with rejection and accusation. “The serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away” – Revelation 12:15. The Hebrew-Arabic Alehom means “a widespread attack of criticism and defamation on a certain person or body.” By the cross we can rise above the flood of evil (Isaiah 59:19).
II. Accuser or Advocate
When there is mistrust, even our prayers may turn negative: bombarding the throne of God with criticism and complaints of our brothers and sisters. Or we bring the criticism and complaints to others for “counsel,” thus creating evil rumors and discussions behind one another’s back.
There are two ways to come before the throne of God: as accuser or advocate.
Revelation 12:10 – The accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
I John 2:1 – If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
The accuser is Satan; the advocate is Yeshua. Which side are we on? Someone already has the position of accuser; and someone as advocate. Which role are we fulfilling? Let us ask ourselves: “Am I among those defending my brothers and sisters, or defaming them? Am I an accuser of the brethren or an advocate?”
III. Covenant and Cross
How can we become an advocate when we feel we have been wronged? There are two options: 1) covenantal dialogue and 2) conforming to the cross.
If we know that we have hurt someone, it is our duty to go to them to be reconciled. This takes priority over worship, the Lord’s Supper, tithing, and religious ritual. “If you bring your gift to the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift… First be reconciled to your brother, and then come offer your gift” – Matthew 5:23-24.
If someone has hurt us, it is also our duty to go to them. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” – Matthew 18:15. Who goes first? If he hurts you – you go. If you hurt him – you go. In either case, we have the moral obligation. The purpose here is not to prove that the other is wrong, but to be reconciled, to heal the relationship, to win our brother’s heart.
This passage that speaks of covenant dialogue, speaks also of unilateral, abundant, repeated forgiveness. When Peter asked how often he must forgive his brother who sinned against him, Yeshua answered, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” – Matthew 18:22. This attitude of gracious forgiveness is the attitude of the cross.
Yeshua forgave us even though we don’t deserve to be forgiven. The attitude of the cross precedes covenant dialogue. No amount of dialogue can bring reconciliation if we are not filled with the spirit of unilateral forgiveness from the cross. We forgive one another as He forgave us (Colossians 3:13). It hurts. It takes all we’ve got. It is the way of the cross. It is the only way to bring reconciliation and preserve unity.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, April 20, 2021, and reposted with permission.