July 9, 2017
James 1: 19-21
When a patient hears from the doctor and he says, “Do you want me to make you feel good or do you want me to tell you the truth?” What response would you prefer? We must know the truth when it comes to our health and our future. Whether you are building marriages, families, friendships, business relationships, or any other relationship, it always pays to hear the truth. Relationships built on anything less than truth are destined for problems and disaster.
James teaches us that it can be painful to hear the truth. With this in mind James gives us three guidelines for hearing the truth:
Be quick to listen (God gave you two ears and only one mouth)
Be slow to speak
Be slow to become angry
1. Hearing The Truth, Even When It Hurts
There are different ways to respond to truth.
Denial – If we detect that hard words are going to affect us or challenge we begin thinking to ourselves of how we can push away the truth. We refuse to deal with the issues.
Retaliation – If this person hits to close to home we prepare to strike back. We quickly point out the dirty laundry that once was hanging on their line. We point out that they do not live a perfect life either. We can become willing to sink to whatever level needed to neutralize this attack.
Rationalization – We think to ourselves, “Since there are serious criminals throughout the Hattiesburg area; why are you stopping me officer?” Whatever we did there was a good reason for doing it. It is really unfair to bring up such a minor fault.
Which of these responses do you use most often?
How do these responses compare to what James tells us to do?
What must be done in order for you to change?
2. Hearing The Truth, Even When It Feels Good
We need to learn how to receive and respond to positive words from others. You would think this would be easy, but often it is not. People often refuse our words of encouragement. Johnny you did a good job today and I am proud of you. “Oh no I didn’t, and I really don’t care what you think.” It would seem like people would be open to positive and affirming words.
How do you respond when someone compliments you?
Do you feel awkward?
How do you want people to respond when you compliment them?
What is a positive word you want to say to someone today?
3. Hearing The Truth From God
There are many people who attend church. They may take part in Bible study and enjoy being around church without really being changed by God. They don’t mind a little religion and occasional services, but they don’t want to meet Jesus face to face and have to deal with their own condition before a Holy God. If this is the case in your life then you need to hear the truth from God’s word. The Bible says that you matter to God, and that He loves you more than words can describe. He sent His son to die for you so that you could be forgiven of your sins and enter a right relationship with God. Your search is not just for a church but a Savior. If you leave this world without making this decision in your life then you will stand before a Holy God without a Savior. If this were to happen then you will pay for your sins that you committed and be eternally separated from God. These seem to be hard words but they are true words according to the Bible. You can deny the truth, crank up your rationalizing, or load up your retaliation attitude, but it will not change the truth. You need Jesus in your life as your personal Lord and Savior.
Have you faced this truth in your life?
If you have not faced this truth in your life what do you feel is standing in your way?
If you have never asked Jesus to come into your life, forgive you of your sins, and be your Savior and Lord, ask someone today to pray with you about this matter. If God’s Spirit is calling you then this decision can be made today.
If you have never made a profession of your faith or been baptized then consider doing it today.
If you are not a member of a church then consider becoming a part of the HCC family today.
The truth of God is for your benefit and blessings. Take hold to the promises of a loving God and always remember, “The truth will set you free.”