Be Strong, Be Well — Sunday, November 1, 2020
C.S. Lewis wrote, "If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity."
We all want to feel good and be happy. But far too many people think this means not hearing or dealing with things that make us feel uncomfortable. The truth may be the very opposite of feeling good or making us happy.
When it comes to religion, some reject the true religion of the New Testament because they have grown accustomed to hearing and doing what pleases themselves (Matthew 15:8, 9). When Jesus spoke to these folks they were offended and refused to heed His warnings. They rejected whatever made them feel guilty or they deemed offensive.
When we let this sink in just a little bit, we must see the absurdity of such thinking. If we live by the rule of eliminating anything offensive (i.e. what hurts my feelings or what makes me feel uncomfortable), then we must toss the Bible and the words of Jesus into the trash.
Jesus ran into opposition in His hometown. "So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57). The Lord did not change His message or alter His delivery to appease the home crowd. He warned His disciples about the dangers of such thinking. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
Looking back to the Old Testament days, Isaiah described the false prophets as submitting to the demands of the people. He said, “...this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord; Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (30:9, 10).
This reminds me of an unsourced quote about preaching I read a while ago. “If you want everyone to like you, don’t be a preacher. Go sell ice-cream.”
No matter how difficult it might be to speak the truth that might be disturbing, it still must be spoken (Jeremiah 25:4-7; 2 Timothy 4:2-5). If the truth is hard to hear, we need to take courage and listen anyway. It will be the very thing that will set us free (John 8:32). Those with honest hearts will feel good and be happy about that! —Chris