“Truthfulness: the fact of being true. Oxford Dictionaries.”
There were two things I ran across that struck me this week as I was reading through “Truthfulness”, chapter 11 in “The Cost of Discipleship.” And I couldn’t help but think about truthfulness and how small a role it plays in our society today.
It seems the “Twittersphere” has been consumed by @ThingsJesusNeverSaid that started after the House of Representatives voted to begin repeal of Obamacare. It didn’t take long for the ugly divisiveness that has swept over the country to begin its back and forth supposedly about things Jesus never mentioned. Who cares about what Jesus never said? Don’t we have plenty of things that He did say that we should be concerned about? After all, if you are a follower of Jesus his words are Truth. Period.
It’s ironic how Jesus can be brought in when it seems convenient or for purposes of making your point but do we bring Him in with the same enthusiasm in the rest of our lives? The words that Jesus did speak were never pointless or just to hear Himself speak. His words always directed others to the Father. Who do our words direct others to?
The other story was about a pastor, and I use this title very loosely and with much angst, in Raleigh, NC. John Pavlovitz is head of the teen ministry at North Raleigh Community Church. He blogs regularly and seems to be “skeptical” that Hell exists because “it is incompatible with a loving God and with the very idea of grace.” Sure. It’s really hard to find that Holy side of God, He hides it so well. I wonder if he has read the account of Christ’s crucifixion.
Seems pastor John was so upset at the actions of the House of Representatives that he wished for President Trump, all those that voted for the repeal and Christians who supported this action to go to Hell. Yep, the very place he’s skeptical about. He’s so upset he wants others to go to a place he’s not sure exists. Only in this day can someone who claims to follow Jesus publically wish someone to Hell and probably be touted a hero.
Both of these stories point to a complete lack of Truth but also to the fact that we don’t honor and read the Word of God.
“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
Psalm 86:11 (NIV).
We can get so wrapped up in the things we want that we completely distort God’s Word or throw it out altogether. We can get so selfish and upset we can literally wish people to Hell. Is there anything that is more opposing to Christ than that?
In the first chapter of John, the beloved Disciple not the Hell-wisher from NC, we see that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And that through Moses the law was given but “Grace and Truth” came through Jesus. John would also go on to write probably the most famous verse in the bible, John 3:16. But I wonder if Hell-wisher John has read verse 17?
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:17 (NIV).
These words were not just written by John, these words Jesus spoke himself. No matter how much we may dislike someone, whether we think we have a reason to or not, Jesus came and died for them just like he did for us. If you doubt a Hell exists then read Matthew 5:22 and Luke 16: 19-31. Why would Jesus talk about it if it didn’t exist? Why did He have to die on a cross if we weren’t already Hell-bound? If you read and study His Word you know the answer.
There has been an all-out assault on Truth since the Garden of Eden. Any distortion of the Truth is sin. We live in a Truth distorted world and we seem to love it. It’s no longer that we question God or even the fact that He exists, we now question if male and female exist.
Are we contributing and compounding the problem or are we living in a way that confirms the Truth? It can be easy as followers of Christ to detach ourselves and think this is about other people, but is it really? How truthful are we in our lives? How truthful are our actions and words?
“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:37 (NIV).
So is your “Yes” and “No” what Christ calls them to be or are they worldly yes and no’s? In the same way that Jesus said that if the Disciples were focused on him they could look at anyone, even a beautiful women and not sin, if we are focused on Jesus our words will be truth. No oath is needed because complete focus on Jesus brings complete truth in word and deed. How often are we focused on anything but Jesus when we open our mouths? For myself, more than I want to think about or admit.
Truthfulness is defined as the “fact” of being true. If you look at the definition of “fact” it is a thing that is indisputably the case. Indisputable means unable to be challenged or denied. Jesus is the Truth. God’s Word is Truth. Indisputable.
“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”
Psalm 119: 160 (NIV).
People who want to talk about the things that Jesus never said are seeking to avoid the Truth about what He did say. A proclaimed follower of Christ that wishes people to Hell is denying the very Truth he claims to believe and therefore is a liar. Why? Because their words have gone beyond and come from the evil one. Have our words gone beyond?
Speaking Truth in the love of Christ will bring us persecution in some form. We should be thankful for that and give God the glory. If we are speaking in a way that the world approves then we glorify ourselves.
It has been said that the Truth hurts. Salt on an open wound hurts as well but starts the cleansing process. Light in a completely dark place will hurt our eyes at first but then we become accustomed to its presence. The Word of God is a double-edged sword that cuts us free of everything not of God’s Spirit but also cuts out that which is inside us, to the marrow.
“The greatest advantage of speaking the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said.”
We should live our lives where an oath is not needed because our words come through Christ and bear His Truth. Do you love others enough to do that? Do you love yourself enough to do that? More importantly, do you love Christ enough to do that?
Speak the Truth in love and realize that you are at the Cross!