The truth is often bitter and often sad! I remember my time growing up in the tropics, how mom used to have us take a bitter pill, called nivaquine, every Sunday, to protect us from malaria-a disease caused by a parasite, transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Thinking I was smart, I would put the pill under my tongue, pretending to swallow it, while mom kept her eyes squarely on my two older sisters. I may have fooled mom but the consequences of my trickery often led to me contracting the dreaded malaria, leaving me feverish, nauseous and weak for days! Nivaquine was bitter but it was a far better option than having to face malaria.
Many of the truths of life are equally bitter. From the beginning of time, this was manifested in “paradise”-”don’t eat of the fruit from that tree, if you do, you will surely die!” said God. This truth was ignored by the first people created, Adam and Eve, they ate it and sadly were cast out of a life of pleasure and ease to one of pain and hardship. Mankind has failed time and time again to learn from this history, therefore repeating the same error over and over again.
It is much easier to believe lies than accept the truth. Most of us want to be loved, praised, accepted and adored. It is this very nature that sets us up for believing lies and being deceived. It is easier to believe the wealthy and prominent messiah than the suffering and poor one. Many of us would miss the true Messiah if he came in our time just as the Pharisees did. We are prone like the prophet Samuel to judge by outward appearances, missing the David in our midst.
We would rather marry that handsome, successful, and rich business man than the dorky teacher with his old loafers and nerdy glasses, choosing the pretty and loud cheerleader over the shy and introverted librarian. Of course the rich business man could be kind and loving also and the pretty cheerleader could have a heart of gold however, we Judge quickly through outward appearances not careful discernment and in many cases we receive the lie and pay the price.
The most perfect person who ever visited the earth was rejected and crucified because he told the truth and many could not accept it. Would you accept a Jesus who tells you to sell everything and follow him?, one that tells you to hate your mother and father otherwise you are not worthy of him or one that calls out your hypocrisy and true love for money and not for God? How about a Jesus that comes to your church with a whip chasing out the Pastor, elders, deacons and other money grabbing villains you used to adore. It is sad but true;that Jesus would not be accepted in most of our churches today.
How about these other personal hard truths in your own life? It is sad but true when you realize you are as much a Judge and critic of others as you complain others are of you, It is sad but true when you face your own mortality knowing that your life is no greater than somebody else’s, It is sad but true when the friends you thought you could trust were nothing but "frenemies" and frauds, It is sad but true when that company you busted your life for, treats you as another disposable number, It is sad but true when you realize the children you sacrificed your whole life for are nowhere to be found in your day of need, It is sad but through that getting older can really suck and some can’t wait to see you gone, It is sad but true to know that one day your life will end and life will still carry on as normal.
How then do we face these hard truths? Boldly and courageously! One of the gifts most people lack and hardly seek is the gift of boldness. On the day of Pentecost, when the disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit, many focus on the gift of speaking in tongues but miss a far greater gift-the gift of boldness. What use is being able to speak in a different language but not have the boldness to speak the truth you have been given to deliver? Courage is a form of boldness. In order to face the truths of life, we need” Holy” courage. When I was younger, I knew Nivaquine would help me stay healthy but I did not have the courage to take it.
What have you not had the courage to accept? What truth have you conveniently “put under your tongue” and suppressed? The only freedom in this life is the truth we know and accept. When you accept the sad truth that one day, you too will pass on and die as many others have gone before you, you are free! When you accept the truth that most friends are disloyal and unfaithful, you are free! When you accept the truth that your pastor, deacon and elders are sinners like you, you are free! When you accept the truth that you are also not as good as you think you are and truly in need of a Savior, you are free indeed.