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Leave Them Alone
September 10, 2010
An elderly Christian friend of mine once said that if you aren't getting along with someone, maybe the best thing is to give them "a good lettin' alone"! The scriptures teach that this is appropriate in certain instances. There are too many people who want to hear the word of God for us to be wasting our time on those who do not want to hear from us.
Leave Them Alone
Presented to the Blockhouse Bottom church of Christ 09-10-2010
An old brother in the church at Globe in Greenup County, Kentucky, once told me that sometimes, in order to get along with someone, you have to give them a “good lettin’ alone”. That may sound simplistic, or even counterintuitive, but he was absolutely right.
Sometimes, the Lord has told His followers to do some “lettin’ alone”, as it were. Jesus told His disciples, as He sent them out to preach, to spend their time where it counted most, and wherever the message was not eagerly received, He told them to give those folks a lettin’ alone!
Matthew 10:11 "And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.
13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
Only those who willingly received the message from Christ’s disciples were to be favored with continued attention. Those who rejected their message were to be, in turn, rejected by the preaching disciples. Not only were they not to waste time with them, but they were to shake off the very dust of their feet in a sign of that rejection. In other words, a good lettin’ alone!
Jesus also recognized another situation where rejection was to take place.
Matthew 15:12 "Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
The Pharisees were offended because Jesus proclaimed that the things that were important to them were not necessarily important to God. The Pharisees were legalistic in their approach to serving God, thinking that a show of piety was as important as true righteousness. Religiousness does not equal righteousness, but people down through the generations make that same mistake.
Jesus said to leave blind religious leaders and blind followers alone, and let them all fall down together. Some people are so wicked that God gives them over to their own destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Rather than constantly fighting with religious people over disagreements, our role as the children of God is to live the godly life in front of others, and to take an active part in making the world a better place. Our function is to become salt and light to the tasteless, corrupt and lost.
What about dealing with the world of sin at large? Are we to try to kill off the enemies of God?
Matthew 13:24 "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
Matthew 13:36 "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 He that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
There are children of God in this world, and children of the devil. God will separate them at the appropriate time. That is not our job. We are the good seed, planted to bring forth fruit.
Romans 12:17 "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
When it comes to the world, we need to give them a good letting alone. Our role is to provide light to the world of ignorance and disobedience. God brings order out of chaos. As His children, we are to bring order out of chaos, with our lives. Our job is not to constantly attack and berate, but rather to set a good example and speak the truth in love. “I will repay”, says the Lord.
Some Christians may agree that we should leave alone the world, and those who flat out reject Jesus as our savior, yet declare that we must attack our religious fellows who disagree with us. Jesus indicated a different approach to this problem, as well.
Mark 9:38 "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."
Sometimes, the best approach to our Christian brethren with whom we disagree is to leave them alone. Jesus said that a man who was not against Him was for Him. He will decide who is who.
That said, do we want to be left alone -- to ignore God so that He ignores us? Is this wise?
James 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
God wants us to draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us, James told his readers.
Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Do we truly want to be one of those left alone at the gate of heaven? Told to depart from the presence of the Lord? I don’t! Do you? The worst “lettin’ alone” that anyone of us can receive is from the Lord.
Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."