We have seen how words impose authority over us, rightly and wrongly.
This article explores the options you have in responding to the words that are projected against you.
It may well be that you are rejecting words you should be heeding. And it is also possible that you are responding to words that you should be ignoring.
Some Words Stick
The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the nation of Judah over two and a half millennia ago, almost 600 years before Christ. Because he warned that King Nebuchadnezzar would make a second attack on Jerusalem and kill the people his message was rejected.
At one point Jeremiah wrote a lengthy prophecy and sent it to King Jehoiakim. The king listened as the message was read to him, but then threw the message, page by page, into the fire.
The king and the people rejected the message but they could not change its accuracy. The message was from God, Himself. Jeremiah spoke with true, divine jurisdiction. And so the prophesied destruction came, while Jeremiah was locked in the prison and spared from death.
The Word of God is not a word to be rejected no matter how much we don’t like it. It is God’s living word and it brings about divine outcomes. When we receive it in faith it impacts our natural life with divine grace. If we reject it we will ultimately stand before God to accept the punishment for our rejection of truth.
Just as King Jehoiakim could not destroy the word of God, neither can you. So making your own god or choosing to believe something that suits your sensibilities will make no difference.
Some Words Crumble
Just as Jeremiah’s words proved to be truly from God, other prophets in his day who opposed him gave empty prophecies. Grand promises of deliverance were given by those who stood against Jeremiah. Yet it was Jeremiah’s message that proved true.
And that reminds me of the prophecy given by Elisha when the Syrians surrounded Samaria and the people were starving. Elisha prophesied that food would be abundant and cheap by the next day. An attendant of the king scoffed at such a preposterous suggestion, but it came to pass. The words stood true.
The scoffing of the king’s attendant were the words that crumbled. In fact he was trampled to death in the stampede of people rushing out to the abandoned enemy camp to grab all the provisions left there.
So far we have seen that words spoken to people can be responded to in a variety of ways.
Words can be respected and obeyed, like the man who pulled his car over at the police officer’s demand and had his car commandeered for the policeman’s purposes.
Words can be rejected and thrown in the fire, as King Jehoiakim did to Jeremiah’s prophecy.
Words can be waited upon, such as the warring tribesmen did when Mary Slessor sent her nonsense message cloth.
Words can be deflected by responding with questions to challenge the jurisdiction of the one asking.
Words can simply be ignored, as many people do who have a copy of the Bible and never read it or attend to what it says.
Return to Sender
John Harris of the People’s United Community in the UK (tpuc.org) recommends that people simply return official documents to the sender. John initially advocated writing “RTS” on the envelope, but subsequently recommended writing “No Contract. RTS”, or “NCRTS”.
Others suggest returning official letters with a stamp or sticker affixed, so you are not putting your own handwriting on the document.
John Harris points out that if you do not have a contract with these entities and they are trying to impose their will on you, you can simply send their attempts back to them, unfulfilled.
By returning the mail you show that you have not opened or accepted it. Thus they cannot claim to have some “contract” with you by your acceptance of their documents.
Even if the document appears quite impressive, like Mary Slessor’s wax sealed cloth, it can be sent back without you accepting the imposition of authority by that entity.
Question The Authority
Another approach is to question the asserted authority, to expose its lack of jurisdiction. This is exemplified in the Roger Elvick questions which he used in court, and which are linked to the Toothpick Story mentioned earlier.
The three questions Roger Elvick used to respond to a judge trying to impose authority over him are:
What is your name?
Do you have a claim against me?
Do you know anyone who does have a claim against me?
The 1215.org site suggests that the judge or official, such as a police officer, will remain silent. That silence is taken as acquiescence or default agreement and confirms that there is no claim against you. The site claims, “if somebody fails to respond or is standing mute it literally means you are in control and they are waving their rights.”
So you then discharge the matter. In court Roger Elvick would say, “I request the order of the court be released unto me immediately.” When there is no order to be released to you, you say, “It appears as though there is no more public business here. I’m out of here.”
Rather than rejecting the attempted assertion of authority, it is suggested that we should accept it, on conditions. An example of this kind of conditional acceptance is seen in the encounter of Jesus Christ with some religious leaders in his day, 2,000 years ago.
The leaders asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?” Jesus advised them that he would answer their question if they first answered his. He then asked if the baptism preached by John the Baptist was from God or from man.
The leaders did not want to answer, as any answer would cause them trouble. So Jesus also declined to answer their question. See the historical record at Matthew 21:23-27.
You might respond to a charge sent you by a council or court by saying something like, “I am happy to pay the amount requested upon proof that the claim is lawful.” This is conditional acceptance of the offer or claim. But in practice it puts the weight of responsibility onto the other person to prove their right to make any claim.
In Conditional Acceptance you can see again the merit of asking questions in response to approaches made by others. The person asking questions is in charge.
Remember the man who was called upon by a policeman to pull his car over. Rather than object, argue or ignore the policeman, the man simply asked a question: “Is there some problem, officer?”
Think about questions you can ask that do not taunt the other, but put them on notice that you are a sovereign and are not yielding to their demands that your obey them.
However, if the other truly does have authority they have the right to demand a response, as God did when He called out to Adam in the Garden of Eden, and as God did when He challenged Job.
Words That Impose Themselves on You
The next consideration is the impact of words and their magical power to impose themselves and plant thoughts into our hearts and minds.
This is a major aspect of how Words Control Us, and so we will look at that in the next lesson.