I once heard a preacher recall something his father, who was also a preacher, said to someone. The elder pastor remarked, “If someone accused me of killing my own grandmother, I wouldn’t take the time to deny it.” The junior pastor then elaborated that the devil is skilled at putting little “fires” in our pathways in order to get our focus off the raging “forest fire” that is in front of us. He continued that if we ignore the smaller fires and keep looking at the big one, the little ones will eventually burn themselves out without our having to do anything. His dad’s comment illustrated his resolve not to let trivial things that didn’t matter get in the way of ministry.
Another well-known evangelist added to that by saying that he refused to read anything that anyone wrote about him, whether good or bad. It took a little while to understand this. I mean I could understand not reading the bad stuff, but why not the good stuff? Then it dawned on me. If it is something good, then it gives the devil a foothold in the form of ego and pride. “Look at me” or “See? I am doing so well here.” It puts the focus onto ourselves and gives us the “big head” that so many ministers have fallen prey to in the process. On the other hand, if someone writes something critical about you such as something concerning the ministry or the messages that God has been leading you to preach, then reading about it would just make the situation worse. It would give the devil a foothold either through anger or going on the defensive.
Have you ever noticed that people will often engage in a battle of wits over religious issues, even if they are ill-equipped to do so? Have you ever noticed that people will sometimes take an innocuous statement that you make and try to turn it into an argument? This is especially true on social media sites. It is often where people are voicing their own opinions loudly to drown out everyone else. Other times, they may say something that is unscriptural, but in their minds it is. Still even other times, it is just people acting like jerks, often under the guise of being under religious banners where they bash someone and say that Jesus is behind them on it…even to the point where they may even take a scripture out of context and use it in their arguments.