The Risk of Truth Speaking

Speaking the truth is always risky for the simple reason that most people don’t want to hear the truth. In a fallen world full of selfish and sinful people, the truth is the last thing most folks want to hear. To actually receive truth – especially spiritual truth – means you may need to admit you are wrong and in need of some big changes in your life.

But most people prefer living their selfish, sinful lives. Jesus nailed it 2000 years ago when he said this very thing: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:19-21)

truth 9Christians of all people are called to speak truth, even if it may be risky and costly. But for that very reason, far too few Christians actually will stand up and speak truth. They have learned that they can live a quiet and peaceful life if they simply stay silent about the things that matter.

So truth speaking is rather rare today. But then again, it always has been. And we can find plenty of biblical examples of those who did dare to speak truth getting into really big trouble for doing so. In my regular reading I came upon two more such cases, both in 2 Chronicles. In 2 Chronicles 16 we learn about the king of Judah who imprisoned a prophet for simply telling him that he needed to rely on God alone! Check out verses 7-10:

At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison.

Yep, speaking truth will get you into trouble. Two chapters later we find a very similar situation. King Ahab asked 400 [false] prophets if he would succeed in battle, and they all said yes. He then asked the one true prophet, Micaiah. He told him he would be defeated.

This of course was not well received, and he was rebuked for saying this. Yet Micaiah could only reply, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” (2 Chronicles 18:13) And the result? Yep, he too was thrown into prison (v. 26).

So speaking biblical truth will always get some people mad. Jesus certainly knew all about this, so why should we be surprised if it happens to us? And it will indeed happen. It happens to me all the time. For example, I might with the best of intentions share a passage of Scripture or a neat quote from some saint of old, and I will actually be rebuked for doing this – by other Christians!

I once posted what was seemingly an innocuous and perfectly true post elsewhere about the need for Christians to be as concerned about the believers being slaughtered in Iraq right now as they are about their favourite sporting event. Is there anything there that is biblically untrue, or was this in any way an unloving and unChristlike thing to say?

I wouldn’t have thought so, as wouldn’t have most Christians. Yet incredibly, I actually had believers get very upset with me about this and attack me! Go figure! The very fact that they reacted in such an angry and passionate fashion may tell us a bit about where they are coming from.

Normally, if something touches a raw nerve, the biblical response is to go before God on your knees and spend some time with Him, searching your heart. The biblical response is certainly not to get mad, lash out at the person saying these things, and actually shoot the messenger. So truth telling is always something that can result in plenty of angry reactions from others – even fellow believers.

On another occasion I simply posted a quote about the need for God’s people to stay humble, stay on their knees, and stay in a habit of repentance. But this too got some other believers all bent out of shape. I am left reeling whenever this happens. Simply trying to encourage others in the faith and to urge them on in Christ is actually met with angry reactions!

I guess that is something I will never fathom. All Christians should love God’s truth. And an obvious sign of godliness and true humility is to accept biblical truths, and not lash out at those who present them. It was the Pharisees of course who did this constantly.

They hated what Jesus said, demonstrating that they were none of his. Indeed, Scripture is full of hundreds of exhortations, rebukes, corrections, warnings and chastisements to the people of God. Judgment must begin at the household of God as Peter tells us. God is preparing a bride, and we must do our bit to weed out sin and seek his grace to be pure and spotless.

Those believers who think they need none of this are actually the ones who need it the most. To walk with God means to walk in humility, knowing just how far short we are. It means being willing to let him do his cleansing work in our lives. If we think we have no need of this, we are likely none of his. The church is desperately in need of getting on its knees, and staying in an attitude of humility and repentance – beginning with myself of course.

Again, I can see why so very few believers speak out. The pain and rejection and hate really can be overwhelming at times, when fellow believers actually get mad at you for sharing biblical truth. Let me tell you, it can be a real kick in the guts. Yet Jesus never stopped speaking truth, despite all the rejection, opposition, hatred and abuse he faced. So we must do the same.

It goes without saying that we must speak the truth in love, and sometimes waiting for the right time to say something is important. But to simply post a general Bible verse, or a great quote from a man or woman of God, and to get angry reactions to it – well, that tells me there might be something wrong with those lashing out, and not with those seeking to share biblical truth.

Spurgeon had it right when he said, “Truth seldom goes without a scratched face, for men love her not.”

[1217 words]

12 Replies to “The Risk of Truth Speaking”

  1. Well said Bill
    You quoted on an earlier article something like ‘…..peace if possible, the truth at all cost…’ that is an accurate description of the christian lifestyle.
    Prayers for you and the work you do.
    God bless

  2. Who would choose to marry someone who was not true, who is luke-warm or who would deny them at the slightest opportunity? Way too many it seems.

  3. HI Bill,

    Another good article there.

    But I will give you a boost mate, if people are happy with what you are saying, you’re saying it wrong, If they are mad as anything at you, you are pretty much on topic.

    Or to put it another way, when your copping flak your dead on target.

    So all these angry “chistians” are simply letting you know you are saying exactly what is needed, so take it as a compliment of sorts, they just don’t realise they are complimenting you.

    As I was saying in Church today to someone, I don’t have any friends, not when I was a kid anyway, because I refused to go against the Gospel, which got the reply of “oh that’s just because your too black and white, you need to relax a bit”. I just told them that I would not bother doing that, as I don’t want to make satan happy or Jesus unhappy.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work, and may you get much heavier flak my friend.

    Neil Waldron.

  4. What was oft thought…
    “It goes without saying that we must speak the truth in love, and sometimes waiting for the right time to say something is important. But to simply post a general Bible verse, or a great quote from a man or woman of God, and to get angry reactions to it – well, that tells me there might be something wrong with those lashing out, and not with those seeking to share biblical truth.”
    Q.E.D.

  5. Excellent article; absolute truth. It’s very discouraging when so-called “Christians” don’t accept truth. Your words reminded me of a quote from the writer George Orwell, that is a pure reflection of our Western culture, right now:

    “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

    As one poster, above, noted; you know you’re on target when they attack. Also, Jesus said that we’re not above our Master. The world hated Him, first; it’s going to hate those of us who follow Him, as well. Excellent write!

  6. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John 18:33-40 says a lot about Truth — When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdom are those that are of the truth. Pilate put a good question, he said, What is truth? When we search the Scriptures, and attend the ministry of the word, it must be with this inquiry, What is truth? and with this prayer, Lead me in thy truth; into all truth. But many put this question, who have not patience to preserve in their search after truth; or not humility enough to receive it. By this solemn declaration of Christ’s innocence, it appears, that though the Lord Jesus was treated as the worst of evil-doers, he never deserved such treatment. But it unfolds the design of his death; that he died as a Sacrifice for our sins. Pilate was willing to please all sides; and was governed more by worldly wisdom than by the rules of justice. Sin is a robber, yet is foolishly chosen by many rather than Christ, who would truly enrich us. Let us endeavour to make our accusers ashamed as Christ did; and let us beware of crucifying Christ afresh.

  7. “The pain and rejection and hate really can be overwhelming at times, when fellow believers actually get mad at you for sharing biblical truth.”

    Sounds to me like these people are anything but believers, unless of course they then repented to God and their conviction led them to humbly apologise to you as well 🙂

    People who hate the Bible are not Christians. You can’t hate the Word of God (being Christ himself) and claim that Jesus is your Lord.

  8. The truth, as I see it, has been hijacked on a global scale by Western propaganda used to usher in global political correctness according to leftist, secular humanist ideology. Democracy and self-determination should be a good thing – but in whose best interests? We see this being enforced by USA/NATO, EU and UN. Underpinning this ideology appears to be the desire of the West, led by the USA who wish to retain their identity as the super power and guardians of the world Reserve Currency, to secure natural resources by fair means or foul, whereby the end justifies the means.

    The West currently demonises Russia’s President Putin but their provocative accusations are largely unsubstantiated. This link presents an alternative view: http://souciant.com/2014/03/framing-putin/.

    Two games seem to be going on. 1) nations short on natural resources have to acquire them by whatever machiavellian means. 2) Can you recognise the truth when it’s in front of you?

    On a “might is right” basis, propounded by Nietzsche, no wonder people are reluctant to tell the truth or be non-conformist, because they are in the overwhelming minority. Hence more of us need to open up adult debate. Nature abhors a vacuum and just now it’s all up for grabs.

  9. But the attack can be more subtle than outright hostility. There is emotional blackmail – perhaps the most powerful psychological weapon of the radicalising homosexuals being used against anyone who opposes them. Bizarrely Christians are picking up the same weapon and using it against fellow Christians. The homosexuals then don’t have to do anything except stand back and watch the fun of the Church destroying itself. I am at present engaged in a dispute with a Christian organisation for criticising the Chief Constable of Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, a Roman Catholic who is never shy of saying how much his Christian faith helps him in his job as policeman and yet he and his police force march with Manchester Gay Pride every year. [1] In 2019 they actually participated in an obscene and offensive street karaoke that attacks anyone who is against gay marriage. Apart from his own women police offices participating in this disgraceful video who appear at 1’00, he can actually be recognised mingling with the crowd at 1’15 seconds. [2]

    When I drew people’s attention to this gross act of hypocrisy, a leader of a Christian organisation criticised me saying:
    “We have been called by God to pray and work for the unity, renewal and healing of the Body of Christ. This means that we are entirely committed to building and healing relationships with those who profess Christ as Lord. There is much need for correction within the Body of Christ but the Lord does not bring this about by accusing us – only satan does this – it is His kindness that leads us to repentance. This is also the manner in which He intends us to bring his correction to one other, when this is prompted by Holy Spirit. The important point is that when Godly correction comes through a person, it is always brought in the context of a relationship and does not carry any form of judgment on the person concerned. This principal of ‘correction’ or bringing to repentance is also true of our interaction with those who are not believers in Christ. Their need is to be touched by Him and we are His hands. The Gospels are full of accounts of the tenderness of Jesus in His dealings with the worst of ‘sinners’, even to when He was at the point of death. This is surely our call – to love as He loves. True Love does not compromise Truth. Quite the opposite – Love and Truth are inseparable. So, Truth cannot be used as a weapon but only as a revelation of true Love.”

    Wow! How does one answer that, apart from wanting to slink away and hide? Was Jesus Christ condemning Peter, when he said, “Get Behind me Satan”? Was Paul condemning Peter when he opposed him to his face, in front of other believers for leading them astray? (Galatians 2:11ff) And what about 1 Corinthians 5: 12 that says we are to judge those inside the church? Indeed there are many Biblical references to judgement beginning with the Church.

    As for building up relationships, Jesus Christ failed singularly with the Pharisees, and completely blew it when he turned the tables over in the temple. He obviously needs to join me on an equality and diversity course in order to pick up a few pointers on how to win friends and influence people. Maybe you, Bill, could give me a maybe a few hints and tips on how to be more kind?

    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJkNrHzSBTM
    [2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sWaTGLmppg

  10. @David Skinner – 2019? Is that a typo?

    There’s also Matthew 7:15-23:

    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    (From the NIV.)

  11. Hi Bill, the ‘Bridge Out’ article is terrific! How can I share it with all my Christian friends if it is only available to your çhosen receivers’? The whole church needs to hears this kind of teaching!

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