Speaking Truth

Have you ever been in a situation where you suddenly had a deep conviction that you needed to stand up and say something? Have you ever experienced a time when the urge to speak out was so overwhelming that you couldn’t stop yourself? Maybe it happened in the middle of an argument, or at the discovery of an injustice or betrayal. Sometimes it happens in the least likely of places, like the ball field or the grocery story or a church administrative meeting.

Hopefully your word is received well after people have a minute to consider what you are saying. I once had an irresistible urge to interrupt a preacher in a church I was visiting. At the end of his sermon, he announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer that Thursday. As I heard the audible gasps around me, I felt compelled to step out into the aisle and call the congregation to lay hands on him and pray for him as he was about to give the benediction.

I knew that I had been prepared for this by the Holy Spirit. Before the service began, I had spotted a decorative jar of anointing oil on top of an unused piano at the side of the sanctuary. So when this moment came, I walked right over to it as I called the people to come out of the pews to pray for their pastor. We had just done a healing service at my church at home, so the scriptures, instructions, and prayers for this were very fresh in my mind.

In other words, God set me up.

If you have ever found yourself speaking a word of truth to a crowd who is startled to hear what you are saying, you’re in good company.

Jeremiah 20 (Contemporary English Version)

You tricked me, Lord,
    and I was really fooled.
You are stronger than I am,
    and you have defeated me.
People never stop sneering
    and insulting me.
You have let me announce
    only destruction and death.
Your message has brought me
nothing but insults
    and trouble.
Sometimes I tell myself
not to think about you, Lord,
    or even mention your name.
But your message burns
in my heart and bones,
    and I cannot keep silent.

In Jeremiah’s situation, his words of prophecy and condemnation of sin were not well received by the people. Go figure. He, too, was set up by God, and he suffered for the words he was compelled to speak. But his faithfulness to the Lord made it impossible to keep silent. In the choice between pleasing people or pleasing God, he chose to please God.

10 I heard the crowds whisper,
    “Everyone is afraid.
Now’s our chance
    to accuse Jeremiah!”
All of my so-called friends
are just waiting
    for me to make a mistake.
They say, “Maybe Jeremiah
    can be tricked.
Then we can overpower him
    and get even at last.”

Choosing to please God is always the right choice. Even when the message is extremely difficult to say, and even harder for others to hear, pleasing God is the only thing that matters. God always stands by those who speak his truth.

11 But you, Lord,
are a mighty soldier,
    standing at my side.
Those troublemakers
will fall down and fail—
    terribly embarrassed,
    forever ashamed.

12 Lord All-Powerful,
    you test those who do right,
and you know every heart
    and mind.
I have told you my complaints,
so let me watch you
    take revenge on my enemies.
13 I sing praises to you, Lord.
You rescue the oppressed
    from the wicked.

Where is God calling you to speak an uncomfortable truth into a situation today? Where is he compelling you to speak a word to someone who is not ready to hear what you need to say? Where do you need to stop pleasing people and choose to please God instead?

I am glad I overcame the awkwardness of taking over the church service that morning many decades ago. As it turned out, that pastor retired and began to attend the church I have served for over ten years now, and he just celebrated his 100th birthday. PRAYER WORKS, PEOPLE!

Whatever you are burning to say, know that if it is God’s truth, he will stand by you. Don’t let fear of reprisal keep you silent any longer. God is with you.

Speaking Truth Shall Set You Free By Carson Creef

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