WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 7TH, 2021
TOPIC: LOVE THE TRUTH, NO MATTER HOW BITTER IT IS
BY T. O. BANSO
“I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people, so you were not harmed by us in any way” (2 Corinthians 7:8-9 New Living Translation).
Naturally, everybody likes to hear positive things about himself always. He likes to be praised or commended, sometimes, even when he has not done anything commendable! But wise people know that they are not perfect, and there are areas where they need improvement. They know that, sometimes, they don’t do the right things or do things right.
If anyone surrounds himself with people who don’t tell him the truth about himself, the sycophants, his life will never get better. You need in your life not judgmental people but people who love you enough to tell you the truth. Yes, truth is bitter, but so are some drugs that work for the good of the human body! You must learn to take them.
Don’t be like some people who disconnect from those who tell them the truth and associate with those who tell them lies! You will be doing yourself the greatest evil. Some people have left certain churches because the pastor told them the truth or they’re uncomfortable with the truths the pastor was preaching.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (New King James Version). If you surround yourself with people who tell you lies that you love to hear, you’re the number one enemy of yourself. Lies may be sweet now but they will eventually be bitter.
Hear Jeremiah 5:30-31: “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (New King James Version). It was bad that the prophets gave false prophecies and the priests ruled by their power, but it was a worse thing that the people felt OK with this evil.
Love the truth, no matter how bitter it is. Paul told the Corinthians, “I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people, so you were not harmed by us in any way” (2 Corinthians 7:8-9 New Living Translation).
While some believe that the severe letter referred to here is the 1 Corinthians, others believe that it is not, but a letter he had written between the 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, which is now lost. The letter was painful but it achieved its objective of making the people repent and do the right thing. The truth may be bitter, but it will make you better if you receive it well and act on it.
It is also believed that Paul was referring to that lost letter when he said in 2 Corinthians 2:3, “And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all” (New King James Version).
King Ahab of Israel died needlessly because he hated being told the truth. If he had listened to the bitter truth a credible prophet of God, Micaiah, told him not to go and fight against Ramoth Gilead, he wouldn’t have died in this battle. Unfortunately, he listened to the lies of his 400 prophets who were prophesying to him victory and urging him to go.
Following the prophecy of Ahab’s prophets that he should go to fight against Ramoth Gilead, and the Lord would deliver it into his hand, King Jehoshaphat who wanted to go with him to fight asked him if there was not still a prophet of the LORD that they could inquire of Him (1 Kings 22:7).
Ahab answered, “There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (verse 8 New King James Version). When Micaiah came and first told Ahab to go to the battle, Ahab pleaded with him to say only the truth. But when he told him the truth, he used it against him. This shows he didn’t like to be told the truth.
1 Kings 22:17-18 says, “Then he said, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?’” (New King James Version).
The prophet Micaiah told him that it was a lying spirit speaking through his prophets but Ahab didn’t heed the warning of this genuine prophet to stay back at home. He took it personally and ordered that he should be put in prison until he returned. Micaiah replied, “If you ever return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me” (1 Kings 22:28a New King James Version). Ahab eventually died in that battle as Micaiah had prophesied. Jehoshaphat nearly died too.
Also in 2 Chronicles 16, King Asa did not love the truth. He didn’t like the fact that he was told the truth from the LORD. He had acted foolishly by relying on King Ben-hadad of Syria instead of God. Baasha king of Israel had come up against Judah and built Ramah. Nobody could go out or come in. Consequently, Asa approached King Ben-hadad for a treaty between them as it was between their fathers. He sent him silver and gold to break his treaty with the king of Israel so that he would withdraw from him.
Ben-hadad did what Asa wanted. He sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. Therefore, Bassa abandoned his project of fortifying Ramah. Although the treaty worked for Asa, the LORD rebuked him through Hanani the seer
Hanani told him, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:9 New King James Version). But Asa hated the truth from the LORD that he told him. Instead of repenting and asking for God’s forgiveness, He was intolerant of the truth and imprisoned Hanani. In addition, he oppressed some of his people.
However, Asa didn’t escape the consequences of his actions. Three years later, in his thirty-night year on the throne, he was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Despite this, he failed to seek God’s help. Instead, he depended on his physicians. He failed to realize that If God allowed someone to be afflicted with a disease, no doctor or physician would be able to heal the person King Asa was sick for two years. He died in the forty-first year of his reign. Love the truth, no matter how bitter it is.
King Amaziah was another king who hated being told the truth from the LORD. In 2 Chronicles 25:14-16, the LORD sent a prophet to him to ask him why he had worshipped the gods he brought from Edom who could not save the Edomites that Amaziah had defeated. But Amaziah interrupted the prophet, saying, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?” (2 Chronicles 25:16a New King James Version).
Before the prophet left, he told him, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice” (verse 16b New King James Version). After Amaziah had turned away from the LORD, he was eventually assassinated.
Love the truth, no matter how bitter it is. David did not order the arrest of the prophet Nathan when he confronted him with his sin of adultery after first telling him a parable that indirectly accused David of adultery with Bathsheba. He didn’t imprison or kill him. Rather, David said he had sinned. And Nathan told David, among other things, that the LORD also had put away his sin and he would not die (2 Samuel 12:1-15).
Don’t listen to a lying spirit that could make you hate the truth you’re being told. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 New King James Version).
Embrace the truths from your parents, pastors, superiors, friends, teachers, etc., and make the best use of them, even if the truths cause you pain. Don’t surround yourself with those who will tell you lies. Don’t reject the truth even if it is not spoken in love as the Bible commands (Ephesians 4:15). Don’t reject the message because of the attitude of the messenger. The truth may be bitter but it will make your life better if you act on it. Buy the truth, and do not sell it (Proverbs 23:23).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.I believe you have said this prayer from your heart.
Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I repent of any way in which I have hated being told the truth. I will love the truth, especially the truth of Your Word. I will allow people to tell me the truth and act on it. I will not hate those who tell me the truth. Holy Spirit, help me to speak the truth in love in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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