When the Truth Hurts
The Lord has declared disaster concerning you. 2 Chronicles 18:22
You have a problem and you obviously need help. I can still hear the words of the one who gave me a not-so-subtle push into treatment. I hated him for it at the time, but looking back, I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for the man. Though I despised him for speaking the truth, he did what was right. Sometimes, the truth is just brutally painful.
Today’s passage tells of Micaiah the prophet who, similarly, was required to speak a painful truth. In the story, King Ahab conspired with King Jehoshaphat to go to war and both wanted God’s blessing. The prophet Micaiah though, predicted that they would fail. For his honesty, Micaiah was beaten, mocked and thrown in prison.
We often shy away from the truth to avoid conflict. Those who need to hear the painful truth are not always appreciative. Sometimes, as with Micaiah, sharing the truth has unpleasant consequences for us. So, though we can see the disaster that others are pursuing, we stay silent.
Love and truth are not the same, but sometimes, the most loving thing we can do is to share the brutal truth. You are headed for disaster. You need help. If we truly love others, it is occasionally necessary to tell them what they don’t want to hear.
At other times, the truth is not about loving the individual. I have a friend who works in a recovery facility, where he must occasionally confront and dismiss the client who brings drugs into the house. The truth in that situation, is not about loving the individual, but about loving the other clients enough to protect their recovery.
The difficulty for me, is in knowing how and when to share the truth. I have used my hateful version of the truth to be prideful and judgmental, beating others with my truth. I need God’s wisdom and love and I must share His truth, not mine. I am not responsible for the actions of others, but I am always responsible to act rightly myself, which sometimes, means sharing the painful truth.