Most would not describe themselves as blind and deaf to truth. But is that an accurate assessment? More importantly, why would I bring it up? The answer may surprise you, and I certainly hope it challenges you!
Life Lessons: Truth
An iconic Hollywood line delivered by Jack Nicholson is:
You can’t handle the truth! (from A Few Good Men)
Many years of ministry has taught me many things. Sadly, one of them is most church-goers really don’t want to hear the truth. At least they don’t want to hear all of it. They only want to hear the parts they like. And that preference for selective truth is very apparent in our society. But I don’t think it’s entirely society’s fault. Surprised?
Life Lessons: Truth & Freedom
Jesus had some things to say about this subject. That seems like a great place to begin:
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
To continue in the Word is to know and to practice the Word. We are to be both hearers and doers of the Word. Jesus’ teaching linked knowledge & practice of the Truth with freedom. The clear implication is the absence of Truth is linked to bondage. It seems clear Jesus was primarily speaking in a spiritual sense. But where is it we keep His Word and practice His Word? We do it the day-to-day, physical world. So Truth not only sets a believer free, Truth lived out by citizens gives freedom to a society.
Life Lessons: Willingly Blind & Deaf
The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to pastor Timothy. In the second, he told Timothy:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears for the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Do you think church folks pick out those preachers that say only what the people want to hear? What is it that tickles peoples’ ears? What is it we long to hear? Let’s start with this list:
- You are great and wonderful just like you are!
- God is blessing all your work for His Kingdom.
- God loves everyone.
- We are all God’s children.
- God is rich in mercy.
- God forgives any and all.
That list is mostly true. But it lacks a truthful perspective. Here are things that are also true that must be incorporated into that list (and this is what doesn’t tickle peoples’ ears!):
- All of have sinned.
- I am sinful-prideful, arrogant, selfish; this has real-life consequences
- We are all God’s creations, but only the forgiven are His children.
- God’s mercy is granted to all who will receive it.
- God can and will forgive any sinner who will repent.
- Hell is real.
- Real people really will exist there.
See the difference? It may not seem like a huge thing to some, but the differences are vast. And when people refuse to see and hear truth, I am convinced they lose the ability to see and hear truth. Scripture says God blinds them to truth.
Life Lessons: A Challenge
Here is what brings all this to my daily thoughts. I heard a news cast in which the commentator contrasted European headlines about the Orlando shooting with headlines in the U.S. I did a basic internet search that you can do and found a big contrast in those headlines.
Now, the purpose of this writing is not primarily political. As always, this space is about applying Biblical truth. It seems Americans lack the ability (willingness?) to call things what they are. Saying a gunman of a particular religion, killing people of a certain minority, didn’t act on his own beliefs is absurd. Was it vile? Yes! But when, where, and how did our society get so deaf and blind?
Much to our detriment, the problem started in the Church! We are now seeing it lived out in our society at large. We, the Christians, have long preferred to be selective about the ‘truth’ we hear and practice. What we are seeing in society is a symptom of our own problem. Let me leave you with John’s words to the Church at Laodicea:
I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
Today, not tomorrow, is the day to seek the Lord and His forgiveness. Truth really can set us free!
Soli Deo Gloria!