16–22 October 2016.
It makes us feel so good when people say nice things about us! It really lifts our spirits, and fills us with joy. But while we all need to hear nice things, it’s just as important that we also hear the truth. That’s the job of a real friend. A real friend will come to us in gentleness and love and tell us the things we might not want to hear, especially when we are doing the wrong thing.
In the church and in our faith lives, we face the same temptation: to only want to hear good things instead of the truth. So we open our ears to the things we want to hear, and then ignore everything else. And sometimes we even go so far as to pretend that our words are God’s words, when they really don’t come from God at all.
This is the problem we see in Jeremiah 28. Hananiah stands in front of the people and tells them what they want to hear: that the exiled Israelites will soon come home, and that the temple will be restored. What great news! Even Jeremiah hopes to see this happen. It’s a wonderful prophecy! The only problem is that it isn’t true. Instead of sticking with God’s truth, Hananiah just tells the people what they want to hear. So the responsibility then falls to Jeremiah to tell the Israelites the truth about God’s plan: No, their suffering is not about to end, instead it’s going to get even worse.
Today, whether we are pastors or church members, our great temptation is also to attach God’s name to things that we just wish were true, like Hananiah did. But that’s very wrong. Our responsibility is always to seek after God’s truth, to understand it, and then apply it to our lives. Seeking truth is why we’re here!
But how are we supposed to know what God’s truth is? As Christians we have a great advantage, because we know that Jesus is the Truth. To know Jesus, to see Jesus, is to come close to God’s truth. Jesus is the best way and the only way to know God’s truth. That’s because Jesus is the Way, the Life, and also the Truth.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis