Anatomy of Unbelief
The ’97 New York Fellowship Weekend had a very big impact on me personally. It didn’t take God very long to get things underway Friday night. We had a late dinner and people were barely finished when a conversation ensued that made it very apparent that I was in trouble. By "in trouble" I do not mean what most people think of–like being in trouble with your fathre or the principal. I was in serious unbelief, and in "innocent" comment I made about a situation exposed it ini living color.
In the unraveling process, God exposed the mean self-centeredness of what I had done–I had chosen to stay in the "safe zone" by avoiding conflict at all costs, rather than stand up for what I believe and possibly take the heat. In the process, of course, I sold out people around me. I took to heart what I was now seeing. But there was much more to see.
Later during the weekend, we had another discussion on the subject, since there had been no resolution and folks wanted to follow up on where I was. It soonb ecamse clear that the issue was "conflict." In Staan misuse, my "fear of conflict" was carried to ridiculous extremes. For example, two people discussing their different opinions would feel uncomfortable to me and be labeled "conflict." I would avoid this type of "conflict" at all costs. I never got to the facts of a situation to decide what I thought about it. I usually just sided with the "underdog"–that is, the person who didn’t appear to be "winning," regardless of the issue. This even carried into sin situations. Even when a person was confronted about their blatant biblical sin, I would feel sorry for them, identify with and take on their feelings of discomfort at being confronted. I didn’t look at the danger they were in and give my assistance in the process of getting the person out of trouble.
Outwardly, this joining ranks with Satan always takes the form of–you guessed it–silence. All these years, I have heard people say how mean silence is, and I would just feel puzzled as I quietly sat by, thinking Who, Me? I am beginning to get it. Rather than put myself out and risk losing a relationship, I let everyone else do the work of discerning the situation and standing for God’s truth while I sat back in silent judgment. The joke is that those "relationships" I was holding on to were lost anyway; Satan in my members has kept me from having strong healthy relationships with others.
After a bit of talking, I still sat silent, seemingly agreeing with everybody and still feeling terrified. One person described me as looking like a "racoon in the headlights." My problem, people were telling me, was not the fear; it was my refusal to change my believing about the fear. I wanted a way out of these fears without having to take the way out–to agree with God that because of His Son/Spirit in me, I am not a fearful person. Chance after chance went by with no decision on my part. And this was a decision to remain in my disobedience.
As long as I saw myself as a fearful, pitiful, not-so-bad person, I did not have to acknowledge Satan’s grip on me–that underneath that fear is self-centeredness, meanness, and judgment. At some point, I knew my chances were about up. I decided to decide. Until that point, I felt foggy, muddy, torn. I know that those are Satan’s strongholds in my life to keep me from acting responsibly. When I decided to start agreeing with God, the fog began to lift. At first I wasn’t sure what I was agreeing with. But once I got past the point of ddecision, I could see that the next step was to agree that 1) I felt very afraid; 2) Fear does not equal God; 3) God equals clarity, self-for-others, courage, strength–all the things I felt I was not; 4) I am a vessel; 5) I contain Jesus Christ; 6) therefore, all those fellings do not equal facts.
Part of what kept me form saying the truth was the thought that I could never "make it right." I couldn’t make up for lost time and opportunities. So I felt that I didn’t have the right to the benefits of right believing. What a lie! Satan’s way of keeping me in condemnation so he can still ahve his way in my life.
Once I decided to decide, I just started talking about what I was seeing. I told folks at dinner that I never saw how mean the silence was. I knew I was silent and knew I didn’t like to be around other silent people. But I didn’t see it as mean. I know there’s more to see about this, but I am beginning to understand what happens on my insides that makes it worth believing the lies.
Although I can never make up the lost time, one thing I can do now is seize the opportunities that present themselves today and confront the feelings and temptations with the truth and the facts–knowing I contribute my 1% of believing to God’s 99% of doing. He is faithful, and the song is so true that says, "When we trust Him wholly, we find Him wholly true." If we don’t trust God, we can never find out.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 14 No 1
- What is this Human Self of Ours?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Tony’s Testimony
- Zerubbabel Focus: Z Youth!
- British Conference Report
- Musings on the British Conference
- Bible Study: Undiscovered Self
- Body, Soul, and Spirit
- Questions & Answers
- Area Fellowship News: Boone
- The Mailbox
- Tape Talk
- New York Conference Report
- Youth Report: Fall Harvest in New York
- Anatomy of Unbelief
- Need–Evidence of Supply
- Words to Live By…