The truth hurts. Most of the time and really more than we are willing to admit. We claim to be truthful and want people to see us that way. But how truthful are we? It’s easy to be hypocritical with the truth. We claim to be honest, but rationalize “little white lies.” We ask people to be honest with us, and when they do we get upset.
This past week as I was suffering (joke intended) at a meeting in South Beach, I was reminded at how honesty (truth) can hurt but can be for our benefit and others. I had to ask the Concierge to make a few copies for me, the two ladies at the Concierge Desk where very helpful and made the copies I needed. A few minutes later, Natalia, one of the Concierges, came up to me and asked if I would like to have a breath mint. Being focused on something I was doing and adding on to that the fact that I don’t slow down to pay attention enough, I declined. But she was persistent so I took a mint rather reluctantly. I didn’t really want a mint.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1:8-10 (NIV).
As I took one, she offered for me to take a few more. At this point I was a little befuddled but quickly realized that she wasn’t here to waste some time or just be nice, although she was. I desperately needed the mints. Seems the combination of eggs, bacon and Greek yogurt had created a repulsive if not almost deadly case of bad breath. At this point I could feel the warming sense of embarrassment begin to overcome my large noggin. I tend to blush a soft rose color, it goes well with my hair.
I had been clueless to not only how my breath smelled but to how if effected the people with whom I was speaking. Sin is like this in our lives.
We become so desensitized to the sin in our lives. We get used to the routine, comfortable with the warmth and familiarity of it. We rationalize that it’s not that bad, after all a lot of people do the same thing. Heck, there are some of our so-called friends who will encourage us to keep it up. We even become clueless, or more likely, reckless. Blinded to how it affects us but also to the impact it is having on the people around us.
This is exactly what the adversary and the world are working for. And we make it easy for them. When pressed with choosing to run to the cross and face conviction, we take the left at Albuquerque and head straight to sin. It’s not an accident, we aren’t victims, because we are willing participants. Following the little god inside of us that seeks to be in control. We claim to be followers of Christ yet we goose-step down the wide road to destruction.
Christ calls us to a different standard. He calls us to the truth because that is exactly who He is: Truth. His Word is a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways. It cuts away the web of sin the world seeks to trap us in and it cuts the sin we seek to hide inside us to the very marrow of our bones. It is painful and embarrassing. But we desperately need it.
We don’t like to think about the impact of our sin on the lives of others. Think about it. How has the sin in your life affected your marriage, your children, your family, your friends and people you may not even know? Just like throwing a rock into a calm, smooth as glass pool of water, the ripples start small but continue outward and outward until it reaches the bank, then it starts back toward the center again. If we constantly rationalize sin, we keep tossing rocks until that single ripple turns into a torrent of waves, crashing into each other again and again. And we don’t consider there were others in that calm pool of water the entire time. Its one thing to put ourselves through the rocking waves, but it’s an entirely different case to put others through it.
We get so used to the rocking and rolling of the waves, we get used to the chaos. It becomes the new normal. It becomes a way of life. Do we get to a point where we can’t even remember what it was like to be on that glassy smooth water?
Jesus doesn’t promise us that the water will be calm all of the time. As a matter of fact, He tells us that it will be rough at times but don’t look at the water, look to Him. He is our anchor, our port of safety in the storms of life. We not only face a world that keeps throwing rocks and boulders to stir the waters up, we keep throwing rocks in along with them when we turn from truth and rationalize our sin.
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Ephesians 4:25 (NIV).
The closer we are to following Truth, the more others and the world throw rocks into our pool. Sometimes those throwing rocks will be friends which hurts us even more but be prepared for something more painful, your family, and your closest family could be throwing rocks as well. Christ tells us that following Him will turn father against son, and mother against daughter.
The world has taken the love of God and distorted it into a free pass to live in sin. But which is true love: loving someone and encouraging them that their sin isn’t really sin, because things are different now and God has changed with the times; or loving someone enough to talk to them about the sin in their lives and that Jesus died so that we may be not only forgiven but redeemed and freed from the shackles of that sin?
Like someone offering a mint to someone with bad breath, we should offer truth, in a spirit of love and prayer, to those we love who are rationalizing sin in their lives. If love is just accepting, ignoring and rationalizing sin, then why did Jesus go to the cross? What was He crucified for? So that we can just do what we want, because it feels good, and ignore that we have been called to a life of holiness as well?
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9
Hopefully you found a little humor in what I experienced with my bad breath. But it is no laughing matter to compromise the Gospel and rationalize sin. Whether it is in our lives or those we claim to love, sin is sin and we are called to confess, repent and forsake it. God doesn’t suggest it, He commands us to do so.
Please love each other enough to offer a breath mint when its needed; and I pray we would love each other enough to not only offer truth in place of sin, but to seek to rid ourselves of the sin we cling to in our own lives.
Run to the Cross!