When The Truth Hurts
There is an old adage you have probably heard many times, "THE TRUTH HURTS".
Sometimes, we know that to be absolutely correct regarding many aspects of our lives. We hear something we don't like, or something we don't want to hear yet realize it is true. Sometimes we hear that truth after believing an untruth for a long time, maybe years or our entire lifetimes. If we have been taught something from our youth, by people we love and trust, who were taught by people they loved and trusted, it's sometimes really is difficult to accept the truth. But that doesn't change the truth does it?
In spiritual matters, this is sometimes the case. At first, when introduced to an idea that our belief might not be correct, we fight it, resist the new idea(s), and may even refuse to consider it. Maybe there are things in our lives that others see that we either can't see or don't wish to correct, and someone tries to help us Our typical response is just like that of non-Christians usually. Yet, our opinions and in some cases our hard-headedness makes us shy away from the truth. But regardless, that doesn't change the truth.
Can we handle the truth? Are we willing to? Is there something that we really need to hear from someone who loves and cares about us, but it won't be what we want to hear? If we learn that we were or are in the wrong about something, are we willing to embrace the new information?
When speaking of spiritual things, these questions could be raised concerning matters of doctrine, what we believe and teach. They could also be raised if a fellow Christian needed to point out something about our lives that we didn't realize, or didn't want to realize was in need of attention. Maybe we have attitude problems. Maybe we have behavior problems. Maybe our claim of Christianity isn't backed up by our lives, and out of love, someone is trying to point that out to us. Maybe we need some maturity on spiritual matters. Can we handle the truth?
It seems like, even amongst brothers and sisters in Christ, that we tend to treat these matters like the world does. We usually get offended, or we snap back trying to even the score by pointing out something negative about the person trying to help us. We may feel like someone is trying to tell us what to do when it's none of their business, when in fact, it is if they love us as Jesus does. It is their business within the family of God.
Gal 6:1 says, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness..." James 5:19-20 tells us, "My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins". These are just two Bible passages that address instances where it is necessary to tell people sometimes that they are in error. In both cases, it is obvious that someone has to approach the person in error and point that error out so that corrections can be made.
We can end up on either end of that too. We may be the ones trying to help, or we may be the ones needing the help. If we are the latter, can we handle the truth? If our brothers and sisters see that we have become weak, ineffective, and are being pulled back in by the world, can we accept the help when they offer it without reacting toward them with anger and resentment?
I ask these things for this one simple reason. If we are loving each other like we are commanded as the New Testament church, these must be done. If we truly love our brothers and sisters, we will indeed tell them when they are in error, and we must be willing to listen if we are the ones who need to be told. God doesn't want us meddling or micromanaging other lives, but He does command us within the family to help keep watch for each other's souls. God may lead us to be the messenger, or we may be the one who He is sending a messenger to. If in His providence He sends us a messenger, can we handle the truth?