Responding To Threatening Letters
Most of the families in our church received a letter from the ministry of education recently which has led to some fears about whether or not we will be able to continue homeschooling our children in the manner in which we have to this point—placing a stronger focus on Bible truth and principles, reading, writing, and arithmetic, as opposed to “transgender studies” and how to separate the recycling.
Fears about what the government will force us to do, and doubts as to what the ultimate outcome will be are both natural and understandable considering the stakes; however the Christian should quickly come to terms with these doubts and fears, recognizing that his “natural” responses to things are very wrong on many occasions, considering the fact that “in our flesh dwelleth no good thing”, and our “natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God.”
Thankfully, God gave us a Book to keep our “old man” in check, help us put down the flesh, and enable us to respond in a way that’s pleasing to the Lord and salutary to the problem, as opposed to displeasing God (“they that are in the flesh CANNOT please God”—Rom. 8:8) and making matters worse.
The Bible is full of examples that are written “for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4), and it is often amazing to discover that there’s a story or situation detailed somewhere in scripture that matches whatever the Christian is going through at any given time, and gives instruction on what and what NOT to do. For the situation at hand—receiving letters that put you in fear—we find our case study in the Book of Nehemiah, which lays it out as follows (Nehemiah 6:5-16):
5 Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.
11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
The following truths stand out as applicable to our present situation:
1. Nehemiah received a letter from and enemy, accusing him of wrongdoing (v5-7).
2. The accusation is false; Nehemiah had done nothing wrong, but was fulfilling what God had instructed him to do.
3. Nehemiah answers immediately, with HONESTY and STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS (v8).
4. The motive of the enemy who sent the letters was to put Nehemiah and the people of God in fear, and weaken their hands from the work they were supposed to be doing (v9).
5. Nehemiah immediately RESPONDS IN PRAYER TO GOD FOR STRENGTH to do what has to be done (v9).
6. Acting in fear by running and hiding is the WRONG RESPONSE. (v10-11), and it would be a SIN to do so (v13).
7. Running and hiding gives the enemy a victory, and brings reproach to the people of God (v13).
Here’s the application. You received a letter of accusation that you’re doing something wrong concerning your child’s education, designed to frighten you. You’re doing nothing unlawful, so it’s a false accusation, but your FIRST response should be prayer to the Lord for strength to DO WHAT YOU OUGHT TO DO. Then, respond to the authorities with straightforwardness and honesty as to what you are doing because it is NOT wrong to “train up your children in the way they should go.” You’re doing right, and further, it is what God has laid on your heart to do with your children. Remember, the government is not your enemy but Satan will use them to defile your children if he can, and that’s the main point here—this is a SPIRITUAL battle won only through faith and God’s strength…not your own. Don’t act in fear, and don’t run. Face the situation with faith in God and the Book, and resolve to do what He leads you to do. Pray for wisdom and for God to bring THEIR work to nothing. Don’t bring reproach to yourself and give the enemy a victory by responding in fear.
Finally, the Christian’s attitude is found in verse 3:
“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?”
You’re doing a “great work” in homeschooling your children. Try not to let this battle pull you away from that work