Truth which reaches the ears but fails to penetrate the heart and influence the actions is irrelevant, meaningless, and a waste of time. Morning Glory magazine shared the following insights from William Gladstone, the great, 19th-century British statesman and prime minister:
The class of sermons which I think are most needed are of the class which once offended Lord Melbourne. He was seen coming from church in the country in a great fume. Finding a friend, he exclaimed, “It is too bad I have always been a supporter of the church, and I have always upheld the clergy, but it is really too bad to have to listen to a sermon like that we have heard this morning. Why, the preacher actually insisted upon applying religion to a man’s personal life!”
That is the kind of preaching I like best, the kind of preaching which men need most, but it is also the kind of which they get the least.
It is one thing to know truth at the surface and another to fully understand and apply it. At the personal juncture truth loses its respectability because it probes into our thoughts and attitudes. It interviews our actions and judges their motives. It does not hesitate to call wrong “wrong” or to label sin “sin.” It paints an accurate, unflattering portrait of us and sheds light on our flawed thinking and actions. Simply put, truth makes us uncomfortable. This is why we should keep listening and allow it to influence us. Until we do this, we cannot experience spiritual growth.
If you come upon someone who is willing to tell you the truth, even at the risk of offending you, then you have found a person with character. Stick with them. Thank God for them. Count them not an enemy but a friend. Learn all you can from them, and you will increase in wisdom — then be this kind of person in someone else’s life. At the beginning, truth tends to offend; but in the end, it will amend our hearts.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.