Truth Hurts

grain-fieldHave you ever noticed that truth hurts? I remember once in college, we had elections for … something. I learned the results—a friendly acquaintance of mine, who a number of us thought was a sure winner, lost.

Soon after I saw the posted list of winners, I spotted her in the dining commons, a look of hope and expectation on her face as she realized I’d read the list. What was I to do? Look away, pretend I hadn’t seen her or pretend I didn’t know?

I left my place and went over to the table and told her she didn’t win. At first she thought I was joking. When I convinced her I was serious, she was stunned … and hurt, in part hurt because I’d told her. She didn’t want to hear the truth because it clashed with her expectations.

There’s a passage in Jeremiah about the people of Israel, after defeat at the hands of the Babylonians, going to the prophet and asking him to tell them what God wanted them to do. They promised so sincerely that they would abide by whatever God would tell Jeremiah.

But eight days later when he reported God’s word to them—to stay in Judah and not flee to Egypt—they claimed he was not speaking for God at all and headed off for Egypt. They didn’t want to hear the truth because it didn’t align with their plans.

The truth does hurt. Not always, of course, but God says some truth things about Himself that we don’t want to accept because they hurt our preconceived image of Him. The truth hurts.

For example, God says in parable that He is letting the grain and the weeds grow up together, then at harvest time He’ll sort it all out, throwing the weeds into the fire. Some people want Him to cut the weeds out now and when He doesn’t, they accuse Him of being unjust. Others don’t want Him to ever throw the weeds into the fire. They accuse Him of being unloving. Or … some simply disregard God’s words about Himself, because the truth hurts.

It’s as if living with the lie somehow is more comfortable, as if pretending that things were as we had imagined, made it so. That might even be some people’s definition of faith—if I just believe hard enough, I can wish it into existence.

The truth is, faith doesn’t manufacture anything. Faith is having assurance of what already is. Faith believes the truth, even when it hurts. Faith believes in God as He reveals Himself, not as we wish He were.

Published in: on September 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm  Comments Off on Truth Hurts  
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