The truth doesn’t always paint a pretty picture.
How do you like your truth?
Do you like it bald and bold or dressed up and pretty? Salted or unsalted? Do you like it with cream & sugar; sunny-side up or over-easy; with kid-gloves on or bare-knuckled; straight up or on the rocks? What is your preference?
It seems that most people today prefer a kinder, gentler Jesus over the tell-it-like-it-is, no-one-is-above-reproach preacher from Galilee. Of course, it was Christ’s straight-forwardness with the truth that got people so mad they couldn’t see straight. So they conspired to kill the messenger – just as their forefathers had done to the prophets of old.
“The truth hurts” is more than just an old saying.
No one likes to hear the truth when it applies to them. Oh, they love it when the truth smacks someone else right between the eyes, but when the truth comes around to them, watch out!
It reminds me of the story about two elderly ladies sitting in church one Sunday morning when the preacher was going on about the ills of the community…
“We need to put an end to the brokenness caused by alcoholism, adultery and spousal abuse,” said the preacher.
“AMEN!” responded the two ladies from their seats.
“And we need to be sure we are truly attending to the needs of the widows, orphans and the homeless,” the preacher continued.
“AMEN! AMEN!” The ladies responded adamantly.
“And we need to look within ourselves and stop gossiping to one another,” the preacher concluded.
At that, the one elderly lady turned to her friend and said, “Now he’s just meddling!”
Most people choke on the truth, so the message from the pulpit becomes sugar-coated. We have people who present the gospel as some sort of fluffy anecdote because the truth is too hard for people to swallow. So the message from the pulpit has gone from “We are sinners in need of salvation,” to “Jesus loves you and wants to meet all your needs.”
Our sins are no longer the issue! Instead, Jesus is marketed and sold as some sort of ‘genie-in-a-bottle’ that is eagerly awaiting to grant our every wish;
“Just give Jesus a try and watch your whole world change! Jesus wants to give you the world! He will take care of all your problems! He will fill your heart with so much peace and joy you will never have another care in the world! Just ask Jesus into your heart and he will take it from there. What are you waiting for? Just say Jesus!”
Have you ever read the story of ‘The Sower and the Seed’? Or what Jesus said about ‘Counting the Cost’ of following in his footsteps?
Christ must be first and foremost in our life. He must be our reason for getting up every morning and the purpose behind our every thought, word, and deed. Christ must be above everything else that we hold dear. He must be our greatest treasure in life.
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61-62).
Jesus is our greatest need.