By Irvin Himmel
God told Moses to choose twelve men, one out 4 each of the twelve tribes, and send them into die land of Canaan to search out the land (Num. 13). The general plan was for these men to bring back firsthand information about the Promised Land as an encouragement for the people to go up and possess it. The twelve spies returned after spending forty days in Canaan. Ten of them protested the idea of attempting to conquer the land. Admitting that it was a good and fruitful land, they thought Israel was too weak to fight the strong people inhabiting Canaan. They objected because they thought there would be a wholesale slaughter if the Israelites made an attack. Joshua and Caleb, good spies, were powerless to quiet these loudmouth objectors, rebellion broke out, God threatened to disinherit the whole nation and raise up a new nation through Moses, but the punishment finally inflicted was the forty-year wilderness wandering during which time the protesters died.
During the earthly ministry of Jesus, on more than one occasion opposition was voiced to his eating with publicans and sinners (Matt. 9:913; Lk. 15). It seems that some of the religious leaders (scribes and Pharisees) attributed the worst of motives to our Lord. They imagined that he ate with publicans and sinners because he enjoyed their company. It never occurred to the objectors that Jesus sole purpose was to teach and save the publicans and sinners. Of course, the scribes and Pharisees wanted to find fault with Jesus, and when one wants to find fault, objections can be invented.
Our Master once attended a supper in Bethany. Mary, sister to Martha and Lazarus, broke an expensive box of ointment and anointed Jesus with the costly anointment. Judas Iscariot, an apostle who later betrayed Jesus, objected to Marys action. He asked, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” He pretended to have great concern for the poor, but the Bible says he really did not care for the poor but was a thief (John 12:1-8). Jesus rebuked Judas and commended Mary. Our Lords remark was, “Let her alone.”
Anything that is wrong should be opposed. Whatever lacks scriptural authorization must never be given endorsement. It takes knowledge, wisdom, faith, courage, and love for the truth to stand in opposition to practices that are against the will of God. In this article I am writing about objecting to things which have divine approval, not to things that are wrong.
One who objects to the doing of things that are good and right in the sight of God places himself in the company of the ten evil spies, the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, and Judas Iscariot. It requires neither wisdom nor knowledge to voice opposition to righteous endeavors. It takes neither faith nor love to shout, “I object.”
The work of the church is often hindered by faithless men who act as if born in the objective case and the kickative mood! They grumble because the church does not grow but object to every proposal that might pull the church out of its lukewarmness. Let someone suggest a worthwhile undertaking and immediately the objectors begin finding fault. Either the cost is prohibitive or money will be wasted; either the plan will not work or the timing is off; either we have tried it already or else it is too novel; either the congregation is too small for such a project or else a church this size does not need it.
Perhaps we should think about why the chronic objectors follow the path of resistance to a congregations enlarging its program of work. Why should one voice opposition to more “mission” work, a proposed gospel meeting, remodeling the meetinghouse, increasing a preachers wages, appointing more elders and deacons, upgrading Bible classes, expanding the personal work program, trying additional avenues for reaching the lost, or whatever the proposal may be? (Bear in mind we are thinking solely about things that are scriptural.)
Sometimes envy is the real ground of an objection. The critic does not want the preacher to get a raise unless he is getting one, too. He does not want more elders unless he is going to be one of them.
Sometimes greed is the motivating force. The objector does not want the congregation to spend more money because he is stingy. He objects to helping a preacher overseas because, he does not want to increase his own contribution to make it possible.
Sometimes selfishness shows through when the objection is analyzed. The critic is thinking of himself, not the spiritual welfare of others. He cannot see beyond his own nose.
Sometimes lack of faith is reflected in the objection. This was the real problem with the ten spies. Men convince themselves that the church is doomed to be without real success, so they object to everything that would n1ake for success.
Sometimes desire for attention prompts the objector. Like the child who stands on his head to get the attention of his playmates, one may feel that he can draw attention to himself by making an issue whenever he sees that most of his brethren are in agreement that a work should be undertaken. A critic may wish to impress others that he thinks independently.
Before saying, “I object,” think twice? Why do you object? What effect will your objection produce on others? Will it hinder the church while satisfying personal ego, or is it a valid objection based on sound reasoning?
Doubtless some will object to what I have written about objections. Be assured of this one thing: I shall not object to your objecting!
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 40, pp. 12-13
August 17, 1972