Monday, June 9, 2014

Truth Hurts

 There are many times that the Bible makes me mad. Really mad, even. There are times i want to slam it shut and put it on a shelf and not read from it again. It offends me. It throws some pretty heavy stones right at my head, and i have little room to move out of the way. Other books don't ruffle my feathers this much. Sure, there is a lot of peace, hope and the like to be found between its covers. But there's also some stuff that just makes me squirm.
 Take, for instance, the book of Psalms, one of the greatest sources of inspiration for modern poets, a one-hundred-and-fifty-chapter wellspring of comfort and joy.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
 That's Psalm 1:1-3.
 I read that and think, You know, maybe i'm this blessed fellow. Maybe i'm this man, this one who delights in the law of the Lord, who meditates on it and grows and flourishes and becomes firm in foundation and yielding a great harv--
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
 Ow. That would be verse four.
 See, the Old Testament, which the apostles called Scripture, is God-breathed and, therefore, "is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..." (2 Timothy 3:16) Basically, in other words, it is for us. It is an examination tool, and a method of correction and instruction. And it hurts. Because, as a human, i am evil. Horribly evil. My heart is deceitfully wicked. Every inclination of the thoughts of my heart are only evil all the time (apparently the amount of wickedness within us is sufficient to make God become rather redundant in His descriptions). So as much as those first three verses apply to me or you, that fourth one applies to us.
 This isn't a one-time ordeal. This is throughout Scripture. Proverbs, or "The Book of Wisdom," if you will, takes only seven verses.
 This book, or these sixty-six books if you like, is intended to cut. It's intended to cut. It isn't a feel-good-book. It's a two-edged sword capable of dividing soul from Spirit, and marrow from bone--and it is pointed directly at you and me. Because, by nature, we're evil.
 Yet again i say, it's intended to cut. Sharply. Swiftly. And it doesn't stop until it's separated you from your very nature.
 The marrow, the interior region of the bone, the very core of it, the heart of it, is severed from the rest of the bone by this, the Word of God. It hurts.
 It hurts because it cuts deeper than any physical sword may come close to touching, and it splits you from your core, your thoughts from your mind, your intentions from your heart. It cuts away all that exterior stuff we call the flesh. So then we may be the blessed one that doesn't walk in the way of sinners.

 You'll find cancer must be cut away, infected tissue must be torn off, and necrotic limbs must be severed. And only then can life be preserved, only then can the body be healthy. It's painful.
 The truth hurts. And the truth doesn't care about our feelings. Just because it causes pain or it offends or it's not popular; that doesn't negate the truth of it in the slightest. In fact, it may serve to compound the factuality of truth when it hurts, because it's at that point that it's being quite effectual.
 There have been times i've been reading the Bible and fell into tears wishing that God didn't ask that of me, or that He didn't say that about people with my particular mentality or sin. But He did--nay, He does. The Great Physician had to start slicing away at my flesh, splitting it from my spirit. And He still does so nearly every time i open His Word.

 Pick up the Bible. Let it . . . Hurt you.

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