Telling it like it is
Greetings precious people, I do hope that you are doing well today. In todayís article I would like for us to look at the subject of "telling it like it is." Without a doubt many claim to tell it like it is but usually that means how a person sees it or from a particular perspective. All of our news stations, newspapers, and magazines profess that they give us the news unbiased and truthfully. Now unless you just arrived from another planet, you know from recent accounts ranging from the latest Time Magazine scandal to the false reporting of CNN, ABC, CBS, etc. over the past years that these news agencies do not always tell it like it really is. Rather they tell it like they want us to believe it.
The Bible, Godís Word, calls this lying. Lying has unfortunately become the accepted norm in our society today. I have had numerous people over the years lie right to my face and never blink an eye. It seems that there has been a loss of consciousness in our society of right and wrong. It shouldnít be of any surprise that we have sunk to such a state when much of our government consistently practices lies and deception. Much of the business practices are based on deception and lying. Lying and cheating in our public schools has become the norm. We can thank in part the introduction of situational ethics into our society first through our colleges and universities and now to our public schools.
This inability of man to tell it like it is, (telling the truth) is not anything new. The first time we see man refusing to face up to the truth and speak it, was when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against Godís word and disobey Him. After they had eaten of the fruit of the tree that God had forbidden to eat of, God confronted them and this is what happened.
In Genesis 3:6-13, we read, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Did you notice that neither Adam nor Eve fessed up and simply said, "Yes Lord, I sinned." Instead they each blamed their disobedience on someone else. Adam was even more subtle in his blame, did you catch it? At first reading it, it may seem that he was blaming Eve, but in reality he had the audacity to blame God for he said, "It was the woman who You gave me."
The problem of people not telling it like it is, is two sided. We have seen from the pre-mentioned example that many times people choose not to tell it like it is, in order to cover themselves, to cover or excuse a wrong that they have committed. But there is another side to this. Sometimes people do not want to hear the truth, they would rather be lied to so they do not have to face up to the truth.
Again, there are numerous examples of this in the Bible. On such instance is found in 2 Chronicles 18:3-5, "So Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?" And he answered him, "I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war." And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Please inquire for the word of the LORD today." Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?" And they said, "Go up, for God will deliver it into the king's hand." These 4oo prophets were false prophets, they told the kings what they thought they wanted to hear.
But Jehoshaphat realized these guys were lying and asked for a real prophet of God. Look at what happened next. 2 Chronicles 18:6-17, "But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?" So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla." And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say such things!" Then the king of Israel called one of his officers and said, "Bring Micaiah the son of Imla quickly!" The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah, clothed in their robes, sat each on his throne; and they sat at a threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, "Thus says the LORD: 'With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.' " And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, "Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the king's hand."
Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, "Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Therefore please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement." And Micaiah said, "As the LORD lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak." Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?" And he said, "Go and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand!" So the king said to him, "How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?" Then he said, "I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, 'These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.' " And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?"
The mind-set of King Ahab is very typical of many in our world today. We would often rather hear that which appeals to our flesh rather than the truth. God put it best when He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah as He states in Jeremiah 5:30-31, "An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?"
This is true both outside the church and within. The Apostle Paul tells of a time (I believe we are in it now) when people will not want to hear the truth. In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
And so there we have two sides of telling it like it is. There are those who choose to not tell it like it is and there are those who donít want to be told it like it is. What then should be our response be to telling it like it is? I believe the Bible gives clear guidelines when it comes to this subject.
We should always speak the truth in love. Some would argue that we should just speak the truth and thatís it. Others would have us withhold the truth at times and only be loving. There is a real problem with these ways of thinking. For truth without love is brutality and love without truth is hypocrisy. We should always speak the truth in love.
There are times that it is best not to say anything at all. I know it is popular these days to always be giving people a piece of our mind, but I honestly think that few can afford to be giving away piece after piece of their mind.
Years ago I heard some advice from a very godly man whom I greatly respect. He said in regards to making a decision of whether or not we should say anything of not, the following points should be addressed prior to saying what we think should be said. Is it necessary, is it kind, does it build up or tear down, does it make me look better and the other person look worse, and does it glorify Jesus Christ?
Much of what comes out of our mouth would be better if left unsaid. Next time we will examine what is the cause of why we say the things we do. Until then, may the Lord richly bless you my beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine