The problem with the truth is that it is so true. It has a way of lighting up areas of our lives that we have so carefully shrouded in darkness. It has a way of cutting right to the heart of a matter…or a person.
One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Luke 11:45
The Pharisees in Luke 11 have been listening to Jesus’ woes. Jesus has been pulling no punches; he has been calling it as it is and indicting all within ear shot. And now they point out to Jesus that his words are insulting.
It almost reads as if the expert who speaks these words is offering Jesus an out, letting him know (in case he somehow missed it) that his words are offensive. It’s like he is hinting to Jesus that now would be the time to apologize, to backpedal and get out of the awkward situation his mouth has gotten him into.
“Hey Jesus, not sure if you realize it or not, but you’ve been pretty rude with your words just now.” The expert in the Law—and don’t miss that he’s an expert—doesn’t argue the validity, the truth, of what Jesus is saying. He simply doesn’t enjoy what he is hearing.
What the Pharisees are missing—and I think we often miss as well—is that the truth isn’t really the truth unless it hurts sometimes. If the words of Jesus never cut a little deep, chances are I’m not listening very well. What I mean by this is simply that the truth has a way of identifying the areas of our lives that need correcting and calling us on those areas.
Remember the words of Hebrews regarding the word of God—the truth? It describes how the word cuts; how it divides…
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
This is what makes the truth so powerful, so life changing. It divides us right down to the soul. It brings things into the light that we may not have even known was in darkness.
Jesus made a habit of telling the truth with striking clarity and so also made a habit of offending those around him.
Why do we get so surprised when the words of truth are sometimes abrasive? Why do we feel the need to convince people that Jesus was always kind and tender when sometimes he was just down right offensive?
Am I like the Pharisees in that I am only prepared to hear the truth if it feels like it applies to others, but not to me? Am I open only so long as the words are not harsh and uncomfortable? Or am I hungry for the truth and ready to receive what God has to speak into my life regardless of whether the words sting or soothe?
These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; Zechariah 8:16
To speak the truth it is an act of grace. It is to love enough to bring light, regardless of what that light exposes.