The wounds of a friend are trustworthy,
but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.
Truth can be a painful thing. If delivered in the context of true friendship, the pain of the truth is shared by both. One of the hardest things to do is to be honest with truth, and to be humble and trusting to accept it.
Jeremiah delivered God’s message to the Israelites. It was Truth. In their pride and arrogance, they disregarded it. Instead of properly viewing Jeremiah as God’s prophet—the messenger of God’s seeking of their redemption—they viewed him as an irritant, and someone not to be listened to. Of course, they really chose to not listen to God. It’s not as if God hadn’t already tried. It wasn’t as if God hadn’t already set the expectations. It is not as if God didn’t, even now, continue to try convincing them to return. Raise a sad song of mourning (a dirge). God wasn’t happy. God was mourning. The Truth delivered caused at least as much pain to God, as to God’s people.
We have been called to Truth. We have to unwind ourselves from the lies, however, and the number of lies are overwhelming. Perhaps we shouldn’t call them lies. Many are truth and facts. However, throwing truths and facts out in an attempt to bury the Truth, makes them all lies. While Christianity feels as if it is against the world (and it is to some degree), the world instinctively understands that it opposes the Truth. As the Holy Spirit fills all of Creation, one cannot help but wonder if the struggles of the world are not sin, per se, but that the Holy Spirit has been very successful in convicting hearts.
We are called to speak Truth, not just truth. We are to use love to convey Truth. The concept of God as gentleman fits here. God isn’t beating on them to change their ways. The Holy Spirit is alive in them quickening their hearts to the truth, but as humans often do, when confronted by a look in the mirror, they break the mirror, hide the mirror, cover the mirror, anything but look into the mirror. One of the hardest parts about framily is the Truth. We need to be in the kind of relationships where truth can be shared in love, and accepted in humility. Sadly, far too many of our relationships—parental, child, sibling, spouse, friend—do not allow for that kind of truth.
1) What are some reasons, you think, that sharing truth is so hard?
2) What are some reasons—other than pride—why people don’t want to hear or hurt when hearing truth? What are God-related reasons? What are human-related reasons?
3) When sharing what we think is the truth, why is it so important to use Ephesians 4:15 as a litmus test for your words?