By Larry Ray Hafley
“Give me six lines written by an honest man, and I will find something in it with which to hang him” (Cardinal Richelieu, as quoted by Henry Kissinger, who was quoted by James Reston, “The Commercial Appeal,” Memphis, Tennessee, April 17, 1976, p. 6).
The devil walks about seeking whom he may devour. Some read about seeking whom they may hang. It is always proper, even in six lines or less, to point out error, but one must be careful lest envy, jealousy and pride cause him to go mote hunting as per Matt. 7:1-5. The cause of truth and righteousness is too important to be burdened with selfish arrogance and egotism. In controversy, issues must remain primary and basic. A personal vendetta results in a number of negative goals. First, the one in error enlists sympathy. Second, the cause of truth is evil spoken of. Third, the reprover loses his influence for good. Fourth, the rebuker loses his soul.
Men often become so tied to false doctrine that their very name is synonymous with error. There is nothing inherently wrong with marking those who lead away disciples (Rom. 16:17; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; Titus 1:10-13). Judgment and discretion must be used, but to shrink from direct, personal conflict is as inexcusable as the afore mentioned personal vendetta. So what can be done? Keep your heart with all diligence, pray, do your duty toward the truth, hate every false way, and love the souls of men.
Meantime, give me six lines written by a dishonest man, and I will try to find something in them with which to help him.
Truth Magazine XXI: 36, p. 562
September 15, 1977