We’ve all heard the expression, “no pain, no gain”. It generally seems to be true. I’m always looking for that diet where you can eat all the things you like ….“Krispy Kreme donuts, burgers and fries, cold draft beer, M&M’s & DOTS”, and still get healthy and lose weight. I haven’t found that diet yet.
It’s the same with so many other things…exercise programs, studying for hours to get the good grade and the degree, going to the dentist to get the toothache fixed, or to the doctor to get one of those dreaded tests….”no pain, no gain”.
To gain the benefits of almost anything requires paying the price which often includes some pain or at least some discomfort or sacrifice. There really are no easy ways out.
This also seems to be true in the area of personal relationships…times where we need to speak the truth but no one wants to hear it. I remember when I had to break the news to my mother that it was not safe for her to drive any longer; she did not want to hear that news … but it needed to be said.
How many conversations have we had over the years where we needed to speak some uncomfortable truth or where we needed to hear some uncomfortable truth.
It seems that Jesus was often speaking some “uncomfortable truth”. He did not beat around the bush. He knew that the truth would set them free, so he was not going to hesitate speaking the truth, even when it was painful”:
- “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things”(Luke 10:38)
- “Peter…Get behind me Satan, you are not on the side of God.” (Mt. 16:23)
- “ Woe to you Scholars, Pharisees… you fools”(Luke 11:37)
- “You have made my father’s house a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46)
- “You lack one thing, go and sell all, give it to the poor, and come follow me.”(Mark 10:21)
The Lord spoke the truth, always with love, but without sugarcoating it. He wanted people to know the truth and not be confused, so that they could change and gain eternal life. At times he was not above insulting some to get their attention and to make a point…. or even turning over a table. His motivation was love. He wanted everyone to change and turn back to God so that they could be saved. He didn’t allow scorn and envy and hatred against him, to prevent him speaking the truth. He was the doctor who announces “you have cancer and we need to operate now…but if we do, you will live.”
There are certain things that can be left unsaid… we don’t have to be the walking font of wisdom …pontificating about every area…”hey that’s the ugliest house I’ve ever seen…that hamburger was awful… who gave you that haircut…bla,bla,bla”. While the facts may be true, it doesn’t really matter. We can keep our mouths shut… we can overlook … we can and should defer at times.
But there are other times when the issue is very important and we need to speak about it, regardless of the “blowback”, regardless of the possibility of being rejected or someone’s feelings getting hurt. I personally would rather avoid those times, but I ask for the courage to be able to speak the truth… speaking it with clarity and charity… so that the person can “know the truth and the truth will set them free.” There may be some pain, but hopefully there will be real gain.