No one wants to be wrong. Do you? Do you like to be told you're wrong? Probably not. If you're like most people you like encouragement, "attaboys", pats-on-the-back, gold stars, grades of A+ and so on. When we've done wrong we prefer to be told "oh, that's okay ... don't worry about it." Then we move on. However, sometimes we need to hear difficult truth. The more difficult the truth the greater the chance that we can truly move beyond whatever spiritual disease is at the root of that problem to a more Christ-like place in our lives. Ignore the truth and you'll never be transformed.
But... there are times when our hands reach for stones with which to pummel the messenger and squelch the truth instead of letting the truth squelch our behavior. Consider the hard truth spoken to the Pharisees by Stephen, and their response:
Acts 7:51-58a NIV "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! (52) Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— (53) you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it." (54) When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. (55) But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. (56) "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (57) At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, (58a) dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.
Before the truth has a shot at transforming you, be sure you're not taking shots at the truth.
Leaders, it seems, are the ones who have the hardest time hearing the truth. Why? many reasons:
They killed the prophets. They killed Jesus. They killed Stephen. They killed countless other messengers of the truth. Do you reach for stones or do you let the truth reach for your own stony heart?
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.