The Truth Hurts
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts (desires) shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
I grew up in a home where the truth about who you were was given quite frequently. I quickly learned to not ask my dad how I did in a game because he was going to tell me exactly how I did. When I thought I had the game of my life, he would be quick to point out opportunities that I needed to correct. I wanted to hear how great I was, and I wanted to hear him he say that I was a star. A compliment on my performance from my dad was much harder than getting blood out of turnip. I received compliments from other people, however, and my mom was my biggest fan. My parents balanced each other out this way, but my mom did not shy away from pointing out areas in my life that needed change and work as well.
Although I grew up on this type of household, I still was quite arrogant and confident in myself as a teenager. I thought I knew everything, and I was flat out not coachable. I argued every chance I got even though I knew very little as to what I was arguing. I did not take kindly to those who had a negative word to say to me or about me. I would confront people who said anything about me, and I did not go the easy route when resolving a difference of opinion. I liked to find someone who thought like I did and agreed with my point of view. I did not want anyone to tell me anything bad about myself, and I was much like the scorner you read about in Proverbs. I was oblivious to the blind spots in my life, and I very much wanted to keep it that way.
I had a good friend who I started to draw close to in my senior year, and I considered him to be my best friend. We did all kind of things together, and we were as thick as thieves. He was two years older than I, but we went together like peanut butter and jelly. One night he was supposed to pick me and his brother up from a game, but he got busy with some other things and left us waiting for quite some time. I was able to get a ride to where he was, and I was not happy and voiced that to him. He was not going to take my mouth and soon things got pretty heated. I had a bit of fear of him, but my pride bypassed this and things got so bad that his brother and girlfriend walked away as they knew things were quickly going south. We got out of the car to settle things when he told me something that hurt me more than his fist could. He told me I was selfish, and I was only happy when I got my way. If things did not go my way, I was quick to sour, and I became difficult to deal with. His words hit me hard, and I took a KO to my psyche.
I wanted to be mad and upset, but his words rang true in my ears. My anger subsided and I knew he was right as my selfish life flashed before my eyes. I hung my head after those words were spoken, and I apologized for my selfish antics. He apologize for losing his temper with me, but he did not apologize for the words he said. In truth, there was nothing to apologize for as he described me to a T. I came to appreciate those words he said, and I eventually no longer desired to hang out solely with those who agreed with me. His words of truth helped me more than anything anyone else had said who simply just told me what I wanted to hear.
We live in a world where people do not want to hear the truth of the gospel, but instead want to hear messages on health and wealth and “speak into existence” nonsense. They want their ears tickled and don't want to know their true condition. They want to hear that they are okay living like they want, and that God's love is void of punishment. We as Christians sometimes get the same way when we hear truth and get offended by it because it does not line up with our own version of theology. We want to hear how God wants us to be rich and abounding and excelling according to the world's standard, but we don't want to hear about being holy because He is holy. Hebrews 4:12 states, "For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder (division) of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
We live in a world where the truth is not stated even when it is painfully obvious. The Word of God should offend us and provoke us to live a life different than the world. The Word of God is a living book that has the answer to all of our problems, and we should get used to the fact that the truth does sometimes hurt.
Where are you friend? Are you seeking out only those preachers and teachers who make you feel good, or are you willing to be exposed to the truth and examine your heart in comparison? May we not be a scorner, but instead heed to godly rebuke. God help us to not have itchy ears simply wanting to be scratchEd, but may we have a heart that desires to hear truth. God's truth never changes, and may we be changed by His truth.
Stay in the fight!