My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Bad news can be hard to hear but good to know.
Consider Paul in Acts 23. He is being held by the Romans because they were looking for evidence to prove the accusations made by the Jewish leadership against him.
While imprisoned forty Jewish leaders made an oath not to eat or drink until they had succeeded in killing Paul. They made a plan for accomplishing their goal and the Lord revealed the plan to Paul’s nephew who reported it to Paul.
Paul sent his nephew to the leader of the Roman soldiers to report the plot. This man had Paul moved while guarded by 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen (Acts 23:23). That was some serious protection from 40 men!
Paul got the truth so he dealt with the truth. It saved his life.
Many today would rather hide from truth figuring they don’t have to deal with it, confront it, or change it. What they don’t know… they’d rather not know.
John 8:31-32 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Knowing the truth will set us free. Pretending a problem doesn’t exist will not improve matters, in fact, not acting when we know something usually makes matters worse. We may be prolonging our own misery because we are putting off the difficult conversation, the one we know we eventually have to have.
Many of us put these conversations off because were afraid of the fight or other negative responses. We want peace and comfort now over the long term benefit of the confrontation. We make ourselves busy, we eat, we talk to everyone but the one who needs to hear it – and after the weight gain, the exhaustion, and friends trying to avoid the conversation with us, the problem is still unresolved. Maybe it‘s even worse.
Matthew 18 advises us to go to the one we have something against, one on one and see if we can work it out. If the person refuses to hear us we may take one or two people with us the second time so the charge can be established by witnesses…or dismissed by witnesses in some cases. If they still refuse to listen we may take them before the church and if they refuse to listen to the church we are to treat them as “a Gentile and a tax collector.”
For some reason we like to avoid the hard issues of life. Things like a child you think is involved with drugs or alcohol or having sex before marriage, or a husband with a pornography addiction. A friend flirting with the temptation of adultery, a serious spending problem, or considering an abortion to ease the guilt of a difficult situation. All of these are better dealt with immediately rather than waiting until the problem has become bigger and more dangerous or detrimental.
“Who am I to judge?” is not the proper response! If God has revealed the problem He has entrusted a truth to us to act on, not to sit on, talk about, or avoid.
If you do not know something’s happening you cannot fix it. If you do know it’s happening, you have a responsibility to try. This is not a guarantee the situation will be resolved, but our job is obedience in confronting the wrong.
Bad news is bad. The good news is that with the help of the Lord, we can confront it even if we can’t change it.
Written By: Beth Bingaman
Beth Bingaman is a speaker, Bible teacher, and writer living in Reading, Pa. She is the mother of two adults and grandmother of three precious grandchildren. It is her passion to teach the whole counsel of God with clarity, energy and wit. She teaches and speaks for retreats and women’s ministry events with the goal of challenging women to think and live biblically. You can contact her to teach for your women’s ministry event or read her devotional blog at www.bethbingaman.com or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/BethBingaman or on twitter.