by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
There was once a Roman Governor who asked a Nazarene carpenter, “What is truth?” I know plenty of people who think they know, and they shoot off their version of truth like rapid-fire weapons. They justify their barbed words with statements like, “I just tell it like it is.” If you are that person, please stop. In a culture where everyone is in love with their own opinions, we don’t need any more of that. What we are desperate for is authentic love and truth.
Last week I wrote about the difference between being nice and being kind. For me, when I’m “nice,” I am often pandering to people’s feelings. Jesus never pandered, but He always told the truth. I believe Jesus was kind because He spoke the truth in love. Funny thing is, people didn’t want to hear the truth. That’s how He ended up in front of Pilate, being questioned about what truth really is. I believe that question is as relevant today as it was then.
It is especially crucial for us as believers because the Bible says we are the ones who know the truth. In Colossians, we are told how we live before a world of unbelievers matters. We are to ensure every word we “speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity” (The Passion Translation). It goes on to say when we operate that way, unbelievers will pay attention and question us about the hope we carry. When we shoot off our own opinions, no one is lining up to ask us about anything. When we speak words of grace and truth, people pay attention.
I believe we had an example of that recently, and it was so powerful it made national headlines. It happened when Brandt Jean spoke up at the trial of the woman who murdered his brother. When given his chance to speak during her sentencing, he did not bemoan the loss. Indeed, he said he was sure she understood the gravity of what she had done. What he did speak about was forgiveness.
He said he forgave her, and if she were sorry, God would forgive her, as well. He also told her he wanted her to give her life to Christ. He then embraced his brother’s killer in the courtroom and held her as she cried and whispered words of remorse in his ear. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I could sense God’s pleasure. And a world full of lost and dying people paid attention and began asking about what made this young man different. That is the power of speaking the truth in love.
Of course, everyone had their opinions about what Brandt did, and not everyone was supportive of his actions. But you know the old saying about opinions and rear-ends? Everybody’s got one, and they all stink. Mine included. That’s why it’s important to know what we are saying lines up with the life of Christ. His opinion is the only one that does matter and doesn’t stink.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Jesus said when people know the truth, the truth will set them free. I have never set anyone free with my opinion. I haven’t even set them free with my being nice and pandering to their feelings. Feelings certainly don’t set people free! What Brandt did in that courtroom had the power to set some people free. Now, go be kind. And if you don’t know what the truth is in a situation, just be quiet.