Truth or Consequences?

08 Dec

Do you remember the television show Truth or Consequences? On the show, people had to answer an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly (or respond to a bad joke), and had about two seconds to do so before Beulah the Buzzer was sounded. If the contestant could not complete the truth portion, there would be consequences, usually involving having to do a zany or embarrassing stunt.

We deal with this issue every day . . . speak truth (or not) and encore the consequences. It would seem obvious that if we speak truth, people will respond with appreciation and, if change is needed, respond appropriately. Conversely, if we speak something that is not truth, there should be accompanying negative consequences.

However, have you ever said something that was truth and had the receivers just ignore you? How about having truth rejected? Then there are those who know what has been spoken is truth but reject you and are ready to do whatever it takes to remove you from the equation.

There are typically four responses we receive when we speak truth to others. People:

  • accept truth,
  • ignore truth,
  • reject truth, or
  • want to kill the messenger.

 

I wonder if how we speak would help the situation? The authors of Crucial Conversations contend we can navigate through most conversations effectively if we have certain skills.

Is this possible?

Jesus knew how to communicate truth in every situation yet he was ignored, rejected, and eventually killed for speaking truth.

The prophet Jeremiah faced a similar situation. Before he turned twenty years old he was called by God to speak truth to a nation. For almost fifty years he warned the people to turn from their evil ways, yet he watches as they reject truth and the result is destruction – the people of Israel are sent into exile at the hands of the Babylonians.

Jeremiah lamented over a dying nation. His call to prophetic ministry was a lonely life. Not only was he called to remain unmarried, both he and his message to his nation were rejected . . . no positive response, no change in the lives of the people.

Although he kept professing (truth) and giving warnings, his message was disdained – right up to the time the nation went into exile. The men of the nation, including prophets and priests, went about committing vile acts . . . trooping to the house of prostitutes and even lusting after their neighbor’s wife, rejecting the warnings of Jeremiah.

When challenged by God to find one man who lived justly (so he could spare the nation), Jeremiah found no one. And, even though the prophets and priests knew all the right things to say, their lives were far from godly and truth was not in them.

Isn’t it interesting how one can use the right clichés and still be a liar? These were the habits of the priests and prophets.

From the least to the greatest, the people of Israel were greedy for gain. They would go about saying ‘peace . . . peace,’ but there was no peace. They came out with reassuring remarks but they were not true. And, when Jeremiah confronted them with truth, they wanted to kill him.

Yet the day Babylon conquered Judah, and while the king was watching his sons being killed, do you think he remembered the words of Jeremiah? After they gouged out his eyes and led him into captivity, do you think he remember Jeremiah’s warnings? While the people were being carried off into exile, do you think they reflected on what Jeremiah said for almost five decades?

WARNING: if you stand for truth, you will be the object of scorn.

Remarkable what people do when faced with truth. If you are the truth teller, you will be viewed as the weirdo on the team, the prophet of doom, the one who won’t get in step. You will be ridiculed and called names. Those who do not want to hear the truth will do all they can to discredit you, even try to permanently ‘shut you up.’

Are we any different today? We believe we can spend what we do not have and escape the consequences of bankruptcy. We believe we can live in debauchery and not reap the consequences in our families and our own bodies. We believe we can remove truth from our schools, our government, our churches, and our lives and not reap the consequences of a society that has lost its moral compass.

 

Truth or Consequences?

 

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