The One That Yelps

As a young evangelist I was seeking the advice of my mentor, Dr. Custer Reynolds. He was a learned man from Eastern Kentucky. He often couched ‘words of wisdom’ in the vernacular of the hills. On this occasion, I was troubled by critical words from a lady in the congregation where I had just finished preaching a revival. After listening to my account, Dr. Reynolds said, “If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that gets hit.” His meaning was clear. Critical or sarcastic remarks often suggest a degree of guilt.

During my high school days I had an English teacher that placed Shakespeare’s writing next to the Bible in importance. I remember a quote from Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 2) that was likely the precursor to Dr. Reynold’s remarks: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  This is one of those memorable lines from Shakespeare that is so very simple, but expresses complexity of thought and emotion. It does seem that cynical remarks or denials often follow a truth that makes someone feel uncomfortable.

Many have winced at strong preaching that hit close to home. It is not uncommon for people to feel a sense of denial or even a little anger when the message comes near to a sensitive area of life. This may actually be the Holy Spirit bringing conviction that urges a person to repent. The word convict is a translation of the Greek word elencho, which means “to convince someone of the truth; to reprove; to accuse, refute, or cross-examine a witness.” The Holy Spirit acts as a prosecuting attorney who exposes evil, reproves evildoers, and convinces people that they need a Savior.

This is not a punitive measure from God, but rather a loving act that encourages us to confess and repent of sin before it destroys us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We should praise the Lord for the conviction of sin. Without it, there could be no salvation. No one is saved apart from the Spirit’s convicting and regenerating work in the heart. 

The Apostle Paul gives clear instruction about what to do when conviction comes from the Holy Spirit: “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?” (2 Corinthians 13:5, AMPC).

Do you ‘yelp’ when you hear strong preaching about sin and its consequences?  If so, this devotional may be for you. Scripture says, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 18:8, NKJV).

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

~ Brother Roy

One thought on “The One That Yelps

  1. Robert Stilson August 24, 2022 / 5:10 pm

    As they say in the mountains of eastern KY, “that will preach”.

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