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The Truth is Hard to Get Right

The Truth is Hard to Get Right

Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? . . . They are both stupid and foolish . . . Jeremiah 10:7-8

As an addict living in recovery, it’s easy to become frustrated with those who are still addicted. Believing that I’ve dealt with all my problems, I tend to look down on those still struggling. What an idiot. Why don’t you get help? I may be sober, but because I’m still prideful, I often act wrong, even when speaking the truth. The truth is hard to get right.

Still, the truth must sometimes be tough. When my addiction came to light, my friends provided tough love, refusing to enable my behavior. We love you, but you need help.

Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, was called by God to point out his people’s destructive behavior. His tone was often angry and caustic, several times calling his people whores, and in today’s passage, he referred to those who don’t follow God as stupid and foolish.

What do I learn from Jeremiah’s approach? It’s easy to think myself to be a prophet, called by God, to smite those still struggling. Stop drinking you morons! The problem, is that I’m no prophet. I’m still flawed, and I still have my own struggles. In my pride, I’m tempted to use the truth to condescend, and thus, I become wrong even in being right.

I’m not sure I’ve met any real prophets, but I’ve met many who think they are. Like me, in my pride, they wield truth as a club, remaining unaware of their own flaws. Imagining themselves to be delivered from all defects, they are profoundly blind to their continued struggles and thus, they feel free to point out all the failings of others. These false-prophets are addicted to the power and pride of thinking themselves to be right all the time. I’ve been there and if I’m not careful, I easily return to this condition.

If we want to carry the truth the right way, we must always make sure we are first following God and acting rightly ourselves. We must always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and humility. We must always go to God, guarding our own behavior, before we try and lead anyone else to the truth.

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