Thursday, September 16, 2010

To Tell the Truth...or not.

Reading scripture in the order it was written gives new perspective to me as I consider the unfolding of events in a fresh way. 

The prophet Amos was given a difficult message to convey, but his unwavering obedience to speak the "hard to hear" truth is challenging to me on several levels.

The first is that we seem to be living in a time when confessing Christ-followers are prone to mistake the mandate to demonstrate Christ's love with the imperative to be silent about sin, specifically regarding issues that contradict the undisputed doctrines of our Christian faith.

When King Jeraboam heard through one of the priests (Amaziah) that Amos was foretelling God's plan to punish Israel for her sin, Amos found out quickly that he wasn't on the king's most popular people list.  Here's Amaziah's message to Amos:
Amos 7: 12...“Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! 13 Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!”14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one.I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ 16 Now then, listen to this message from the Lord...
Amos did not back down from the directive he'd been given by God to warn the people of what was to come if they didn't wake up.

Today, there are times when I sense a subtle (or not so subtle) expectation to just be quiet, "to go back to Judah," so to speak, rather than sharing that there is a Holy God who is the same today as yesterday and His standards have never changed. 

I fear imbalance. I imagine that a group of well-intentioned Christians who carried out their mission with misguided methods and sometimes sloppy scholarship have ushered in this era of confusion. Not desiring to be associated with one of the hateful, judgmental bigot types (who would?) many believers today have adopted an, "I'll just love my neighbor to Christ," modus operandi.  Scripture is clear.  Love is unquestionably commanded, but it is "hearing" God's Word (Romans 10:17) that leads to believing faith. But let's face it, that's not always an easy assignment because as John Maxwell says, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

I confess honestly though, that if I'd never heard about sin, I'd have remained ignorant of the fact that I was in need of salvation and that I was helpless to save myself, regardless of how lovingly compassionate the bearer of that painful truth was.

What it all boils down to, at least as I see it, is that love in its highest, most genuine form is evidenced by a willingness to tell the whole truth (lovingly) even though it may be scoffed at or rejected. Why?  Because the eternal and unchanging Word has the power to yield believing faith .

G.K. Chesterton once said, "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions," but Gerhard Forde drove it home when he stated, "Christianity is not the movement from vice to virtue but from virtue to grace." And grace truly is, amazing.

Today's Reading: Amos 6-9; 2 Chronicles 27 Isaiah 9-12


  1. I have really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blot and check it out. God's blessings. Lloyd

  2. It is amazing that you wrote about this Sandy because the subject of truth has been heavy on my heart. I completely agree with you on this! I feel that in order to not be labeled we have stopped holding each other accountable. The scary thing to me is that many churches, my own included, don't talk about the hard stuff but focus on the warm fuzzy love and missions stuff. Which is great, but like you pointed out only part of the picture. What do we do!? Its disturbing.

  3. Lloyd, thank you for reading. I did check out your blog and appreciate our shared passion for The Word. Blessings as you keep writing for Him.

    Sharon, this shared burden is one that has caused me to ponder the same question and I can only tell you what I've felt prompted to do: fast, pray and claim the promise of James 1:5 which as you know reads, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Believing that God will lead by honoring my plea for His wisdom, I'm just waiting and willing to follow, and until then, just keeping it real on the blog.