Monday, October 17, 2005

Oct. 17, 2005
“The Truth Hurts”
Jeremiah 28:1-9

One of the most difficult things to do is to tell someone the truth when the truth hurts. Michael R. Baer, in an article entitled Silence isn’t Always Golden tells of a situation in the church he serves. He writes,
We wanted to have something special for the children in our services, so one of our ladies volunteered to deliver a children's sermon. These sermons, however, quickly became discourses aimed at the congregation. (After all, what do three-year-olds care about the various theories of inspiration or eschatology?) I needed to correct the situation. But the best I could manage was to drop little hints.
I am sure we have all been in this situation, whether it is with a family member, friend, or a co-worker. We have all been faced with having to tell the truth, even when the truth is hard to tell. In Jeremiah 28, the prophet Hananiah had the difficult task of telling the truth to the Israelites about their future. God had told Jeremiah to wear a yoke around his neck to show the people that there would be taken into exile by the Babylonians (Which did happen). When Jeremiah shows up at the temple, Hananiah takes the yoke off Jeremiah’s back and breaks it in order to tell the people that they would return from exile in two years. Unfortunately, this was false information. Jeremiah told the people it would last for seventy years. Hananiah was not doing the people any good because he could not handle telling the truth when the truth was hard to handle.

I think we can all learn from this lesson in Jeremiah. Most of the time, people need to know the truth. Not only that, I believe people want to hear the truth. They may be upset for the moment. After all, Jeremiah was treated pretty poorly for telling the truth, but it is his truth that we still read today that helps draw us closer to God. The truth does hurt, but it is important. I hope we will find compassionate ways to share the truth, even when it is difficult.

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