Preaching the Truth

When it comes to preaching the truth, is the truth itself really the problem? I am convinced, after a 30+ years preaching career, that it is not the truth that creates grief but the fact that the truth gets preached; that is what really galls folks. People just love hearing generic sermons that never address anything with a brand name. We all appreciate how that preacher straightens out our neighbor down the pew from us but he better stay off of our toes. Unfortunately, however, if the truth is taught and understood, then an honest person has to deal with it; there’s the rub.

You see, there is this ignorant notion about ignorance; it is like this big umbrella under which we can stand to escape the downpour of responsibility. “I didn’t know…” seems to be everybody’s get-out-of-Hell-free card, like Jesus is going to slap his forehead on Judgment Day and say, “Oh, you didn’t get the memo? Well, come on in anyway then” (ref. 2 Thessalonians 1:8). Pardon the sarcasm but, really, if deaf, dumb and blind is license to ignore God, please direct me to that verse (meanwhile, check out Matthew 13:13-15). Nevertheless, woe be it unto that poor fella’ that has the audacity to tell people the understandable, undeniable truth, because then, you see, his audience cannot feign ignorance and deny accountability. That kind of preaching is what got Paul persecuted, Stephen stoned and Christ crucified.

If we understand but then deny the simple truth, then we deny God. At that point, we have to concede in our heart of hearts that we are not handling the information honestly; and we all know where those kind of folks are headed (Revelation 21:8). If we understand and accept the truth, well, we may have to change our ways, our church, and/or our faith. If it becomes too much to admit, “I am wrong,” it is only then that preaching the truth becomes a problem.

The horns of dilemma are sharp indeed. So, do we really want someone preaching the truth? Jesus hopes we do (Matthew 23:37-39).

JDS