December 7, 2021
Have you ever found yourself in an awkward situation where telling the truth could hurt someone’s feelings? For example, when you are confronted with a direct question about whether or not you said something? How about when someone asks you if they are difficult to deal with, and you think they are? What about that uncomfortable situation where you must confirm or deny gossip about a leader. Do you want to become brave enough, to tell the truth at all times?
I’m notorious for being straightforward. In fact, people often ask me my thoughts because they are looking for a direct and authentic answer. I work really hard to always tell the truth but it isn’t easy. My direct manner can seem critical, even judgemental. I am aware that addressing someone with my type of personality can make it exponentially harder to confront them! However, the world needs more truth-tellers. We need individuals who are able to speak the truth in love. We can become brave enough, to tell the truth in every situation because Jesus showed us how.
I loved this post by Nicholas T. Batzig called, “How Jesus Confronted and Corrected Others.” It reminds us that Jesus was confrontational in many instances. He directly and publicly confronted his opponents. The Pharisees and Sadducees had made a mockery of the law of Moses by interpreting it according to their traditions and customs. Often we hear Jesus say words like, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.” (Matthew 5:21-22) He was revealing the heart of the law.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-22 NIV
It wasn’t enough that people refrained from killing one another, they needed to refrain from hating one another. I believe we have become complacent in addressing sin in our homes, churches, and schools. We allow our children to curse and we make excuses for their poor choices.
“It’s not that big of a deal, all their friends do it. I don’t want them to be a goodie good.”
How about even more difficult sins to address like: pride, resentment, entitlement, and dishonesty? It’s difficult to go to a boss or manager who is short-changing customers intentionally. For example, putting a little bit less on the plates than is typical to keep profits high. Maybe you have a parent that can no longer afford to live in their home but is unwilling to admit they are in financial trouble. Another situation could involve a friend or relative that is harboring hatred for their spouse due to job loss. Regardless of the circumstances, the truth will set you free.
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 ESV
Jesus was giving us insight into how we can become brave enough to tell the truth all the time. We must follow Jesus’ instructions.
That word “abide” means to continue in, to remain, or to dwell. There is this idea of staying connected to the Bible. To dig into the word of God consistently. If you want to be bold with your truth you must know the truth first. God’s truth is the only truth that is never changing. Our world, circumstances, traditions, and cultures change constantly but God’s word is eternal. How often do you read the word of God? If you are facing a situation where it is difficult, to be honest, may I suggest spending extra time reading the scriptures?
The second idea that Jesus presents in this passage is knowing the truth. Before we go into a situation with all our passions blazing we must first understand the full truth. If we are confronting someone about their sin we should be certain of what sin is occurring. Hearsay, gossip, and rumors are a fast path to the destruction of relationships, trust, and hope. Arm yourself with the full truth. If your information is from indirect parties it is important to do a bit of personal detective work first. Second, don’t rush to conclusions. Jesus often allowed a person to confess their sins first before he gave revelation. (Woman at the well John 4:16-17)
When we are brave enough, to tell the truth, it should set people free. Our words shouldn’t be laced with condemnation or judgment but with hope. Even when Jesus was confronting people he entwined his rebukes with compassion. When his own disciples were arguing about who was the greatest (entitlement issues), he placed a child on his lap and pointed that the least among them would be greatest. Children were thought of as some of the lowest members of society but Jesus placed much value on them. The disciples would have been convicted of their pride without Jesus yelling, screaming, or telling them off. He gave them a visual that spoke loud and clear. We can be creative truth-tellers in the same fashion. When you are led to tell the truth, think about how you can set the person free.
I’m working on being more kind in my delivery of the truth. Let’s just say I’m a work in progress but I know that when I think of how Jesus might address people and circumstances I find the courage and the compassion, to tell the truth. We have an epidemic of sugar-coating sin, injustice, and inequalities. Let’s become Christians who are brave enough, to tell the truth, so that we can become a society that sets people free.
What situations are you facing where it is hard, to tell the truth? How will you en-COURAGE yourself to be brave? I’d love to pray for you or help you with telling the truth. Leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond when I can.