It unites us… it separates us…
It is truth. And it is a very amazing thing.
I know of no faster way to lose a friend than to tell them the truth.
Incidentally, I know of no faster way to gain a friend for life than to tell them the truth.
See, it’s not so much just the truth in and of itself, per se, but how it is responded to. That is, when you tell a friend they are in sin and need to repent, that is a true statement and not up for debate. What happens next, however, varies widely, as I myself have had the opportunity to observe. Any given truth can have drastically different reception, but it is not the truth that changes – it’s still the same truth.
I can think of no better scriptural example of this than John 6, just after Jesus’ “I AM the bread of life” discourse. Jesus had said many hard things (vv 60, 61), and the truth that he spoke was not exactly universally well-received.
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
One truth, two different responses.
We see the same thing in John ch. 8, which ends with those who reject the truth trying to kill Jesus.
I could spend a ton of time right here, just delving into the reasons that the truth causes such division, but I could never put it as concisely and bluntly as our Lord:
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannotbear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Truly has it been said that in latter times many would fall prey to doctrines of demons and philosophy of men – lies all. The “New Tolerance” maintains that if you claim to have the truth you are a bigot and a fool. And that’s another lie.
Truth is extolled on the lips of the people, but in their hearts it is reviled.
And no truth is so despised as the ultimate, saving truth: God, on a cross, bleeding, for you.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us called by the word of the gospel it is comfort and salvation. You will know people to whom the truth is garbage, who count the lies in their own minds higher than the truth of God, and who ignorantly condemn you for proclaiming that truth. It is a great source of sadness to me, and should be to us all.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!