2 Timothy 2:25 (NIV) Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
To the proponents of false teachings and falsehoods, Paul commands Timothy, his spiritual son, to gently instruct them, not argumentatively or with a fighting attitude, without resentment, but with kindness and patience. To exert effort to approach opponents is not always convenient nor easy but it must be done. How will they know God’s Truths unless someone tells them?
Rom 10:14a (MSG) But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?
Sharing the truth with someone steeped in falsehood is an act of love and ought to be done in the spirit of love. This is done in the hope that God will enable that person to repent. The verse tells us that repentance leads to knowledge of the truth. But it is God who grants repentance, therefore, we must pray for people who are deceived or are steeped in falsehood.
There is a lip-service repentance brought on by shame of being found out of wrongdoing in an effort to save face. But the genuine repentance is from the heart. It can be detected by the person’s subsequent actions turning 180 degrees from wrong to right. This is the repentance as a result of obedience that leads to knowledge of the truth that sets a person free.
John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In our original verse, Paul writes that those who are steeped in falsehood and false teachings are held captive by the enemy to follow his will. They are taken as prisoners of Satan doing the things consistent with Satan’s character: lying and deceiving, destroying God’s people, destroying what matters to God, promoting sin, stealing. They are deceived by the enemy that his suggestions are for their good. They are like kidnap victims who developed the Stockolm Syndrome sympathizing with their captor, Satan.
The verse also says that the people steeped in falsehood need to come to their senses. They are not in their right mind.
They need to escape from the devil’s trap. They need prayers that God will intervene to grant them repentance and they need someone to share truth to them.
Please give me love and compassion for people steeped in falsehood. Please fill me with Your Spirit and give me wisdom on how to share Truth lovingly, patiently, gently, without resentment. Please grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth and empower them by Your almighty Spirit to come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will. I ask these in Jesus’s name and for His glory, amen.