Are you willing to speak the truth even when it hurts?
Week 51 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
VERSE: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34
OSWALD: “Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One.” – (My Utmost for His Highest, December 19th)
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How It Spoke to Me…
It’s hard to watch people hurt. It’s even harder to stand back when everything within wants to fix what seems wrong and senseless in the lives of those we love.
“Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard.”
Oswald’s words bring me up short every time I read them, for if I’m truthful, throughout my three decades in ministry, there have been situations that made me scratch my head. Trials and tragedies that made me subconsciously wonder if God cared about my friend as much as I did.
However, as I’ve learned in my own life, God often appears cruel in order to prove Himself kind.
For there is a deep work in the human heart that can only be done in a crucible. In a fiery trial so hot, that all the dross of my heart finally releases its grip and comes to the surface. It’s not a pretty process, I assure you. But a necessary one.
For if I am ever to be like Jesus, I’m going to have to embrace the furnace and destruction before I’m ready for the anvil and reconstruction.
In times like these, I need to trust God and His goodness in my life. But when it comes to the Holy Spirit’s work in others’ lives, I need to trust Him as well. Even when I question the methods He uses. For there is often more going on than I know. As Oswald writes:
“If a man cannot get through to God, it is because there is a secret thing that he does not intend to give up…People want the blessing of God, but they will not stand the thing that goes straight to the quick.”
Wow, isn’t that true? We all want blessings, but few of us welcome the soul surgery true blessing often requires.
More and more, I’m hearing Christians subvert the need for sanctification (that is, being made holy), by using the excuse that “No one’s perfect” – thereby implying, “Why even try? God understands.”
None of us enjoys the hard message of holiness. The importance of acknowledging and addressing our sin seems antiquated and harsh, especially in today’s cozy Christianity. We’d rather cuddle under God’s mercy, thoughtlessly trampling His grace underfoot. Anything, but do the inevitably hard work of actually changing.
All of which is an incredible tragedy when you think about it – for Jesus came and died to bring us more than just salvation. God sent His Son so that the Perfect One might perfect you and me!
As ministers of the gospel and servants of God, Oswald says, our job is to “cut down to the very root,” by establishing the standard of Jesus Christ for people’s lives.
When they respond, “We can never be that,” Oswald says, drive it home – “Jesus says you must.” But then add, you cannot without a new Spirit (Luke 11:13). Which is the very thing Christ came to give us! His Spirit – His strength, power, and presence at work in and through our lives.I wonder what would happen if we stopped sympathizing with people, especially when their situation involves sin, and started speaking the truth in love? Click To Tweet
Speaking truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) must be done, not from a holier-than-thou perch of judgment or spiritual pride, but from the humble position of a son or daughter who has also been challenged and chastened by God.
But that can be scary. After all, there’s a good chance we’ll be misunderstood or misinterpreted. But it’s a price we must be willing to pay. For when we’re willing to be the “hard one,” God is able to step in and be the “kind one.”
Allowing our friend to discover for themselves just how tender and forgiving our loving heavenly Father really is.
(Read more on the subject: The Danger of Surrogate Messiahs)
At the Feet of Jesus 2019
Have you ever wanted to read through the Bible in a year, but fell asleep midway through Leviticus? I feel your pain, sister!
I’d love to introduce you to the reading schedule that changed all that for me. It’s a schedule that takes back and forth between the Old Testament and New. Giving us a beautiful picture of the Good News, foreshadowed in the Old and fulfilled in the New.
Though daily Bible reading is our main focus, those who want to read the daily devotions will be invited to respond (much as we have with My Utmost for His Highest.)
If you’d like to learn more about the devotional and purchase a copy before we begin in January, go to this page.
[Note: Affiliate links are used in this post.]
Be on the lookout for the beautiful At the Feet of Jesus 2019 Bible Reading Journal created just for you. (Coming Saturday, December 22nd!)
<< Read WEEK 50 – “Are You Willing to Do Hard Things?”
I’d love to hear from you…how have you seen sympathy interfere with holiness?