The Truth Hurts Sometimes

Have you ever been invited into a conversation where someone offered you the choice of hearing the “good news” or “bad news” first? Personally, I always take the bad news first knowing that the truth of whatever the circumstances may be at that time, may hurt for a little bit, but that pain and discomfort is only temporary. Anytime I hear the phrase “the truth hurts”, I recognize that reality because sometimes, the truth can be extremely unpleasant and difficult to understand. The implication from this phrase can often be understood as “the truth is sometimes more hurtful than lies” but that it is better to face the facts than to bury our heads in the sand. As a parent, Sometimes I remind some of my children that it is better to simply tell the truth and everything else will settle itself out. Hiding behind deception is problematic for several reasons and when we establish a pattern of behavior where we are always telling lies, we can’t expect others to believe that we are being truthful.

How much do we value truth? The truth is easy to hear when it is convenient for the moment. When it is flattering, encouraging, and uplifting – we will not quibble with others about what we are reading or hearing. What about those moments when the truth is not so easy to hear or read? What are our responses to others when someone comes to us with a concern that something may be wrong? Do we desire the truth then when it is not so favorable to us? Do you demand the truth from those who preach and teach the Gospel? What about when the preacher begins to get around an emotional subject or a sin that you struggle with, do you demand the truth then?

Galatians 4:16 So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?

Considering the whole letter written to Galatia, Paul was confronting these false Judaizing teachers with agonizing truths that required change in their lives. I believe we all recognize that change hurts, but the truth saves. These false teachers are coming in bringing a different gospel. In short, “become a Jew in order to be a true Christian”.

Galatians 2:5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

Some have gone so far to believe that only an Apostle can do such a thing. Anyone else who is not a “Holy Spirit inspired Apostle” does not have the right to follow this example, which is just simply not true. The verse says, “we did not yield”. Who else was included? The text says that Titus was with him. Was Titus a “Holy Spirit inspired Apostle”? Did he have the right to hinder these false teachers from teaching their doctrine? There is no doubt in my mind that he had the authority to do so! We have ample evidence of this truth throughout the letters to Timothy and Titus. The truth is going to hurt but when we begin to assert things that are simply not true and have not been proven, we are getting ourselves into treacherous territory. Do we despise those who tells us what we need to hear?

Mark 10:19-22 “You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Here is a perfect example of when the truth pleased someone until all of a sudden, it no longer pleased them. People will come up with all kinds of excuses and even begin to make false accusations that telling someone the truth is unloving. However, if you notice verse 21, the Spirit called it “love”. Was Jesus unloving when he told the rich young ruler that he lacked one thing? How do we feel when someone takes the time to come to you to point out our shortcomings?

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

We need to be careful and guard ourselves against behaving in such a way. There were times when I was younger, that I did not like being approached by others trying to tell me something to help me. As I got older and began having children, I quickly realized the reality that those people were tremendous blessings for me in my life. Even when they would be telling me something that I did not want to hear. Just because I didn’t want to hear something didn’t make it any less true.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

Romans 2:8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

We need to have a love of the truth. If we don’t, we will never appreciate the truths that hurt. If we are unwilling to accept painful truths, we will never be saved. The only way we can be saved is if we obey the truth and if we do not obey the truth, there will be condemnation.

by Lee Elkins