Friday, December 2, 2016


“When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.  Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.’

One of the experts in the law answered him, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.’  Jesus replied, ‘And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.’” (Luke 11:37-46 NIV)

Sometimes, we just need a good kick in the rear.  I am not talking about corporal punishment, but rather to be told the truth about ourselves when we would rather live in denial.  This is what Jesus did with the Pharisees and when an expert in the Jewish law took exception, he spoke truth to him as well.  

Jesus was not afraid to offend people.  He didn’t go out of His way to do it, or get some unseemly pleasure from it.  He just spoke the truth, and if people, even His disciples (John 6:60-61), were offended, then so be it.  Truth brings freedom (John 8:32) and He was going to tell it no matter what because He loved people.

I am so grateful for the times in my life where people have confronted me with the truth.  My campus minister pointed out some anger issues in my life when I was in college.   While being totally distraught over a relationship break-up, a seminary professor pointedly asked me if I had truly given the situation over to the Lord.  And not too long ago, the then chairman of my ministry board challenged me on a personal trait that needed some adjustment.  All three of these men spoke the truth to me and I am grateful they did.  I desperately needed to hear it and I consider their truth-telling as acts of love.  

We live in a world where, increasingly, people want to be told what they want to hear even if it is not the truth.  There is a steep price to pay for that—bondage.  If the truth can set us free, then the lack of telling it keeps us in slavery to bad habits, sloppy work, emotional immaturity, etc.  

Today, know the great value of hearing the truth.  If someone is loving enough to tell you the truth, then receive it.  It can set you free from what’s holding you back to become what God created you to be.  

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