Fortune Teller or Truth Teller
Don’t go to a fortune teller; go to a Truth teller!
There’s a verse in today’s Devotion passage that caught my attention: “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). Apostle Paul was into telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth–God’s Truth! But along the way, some people in the church in Galatia did not like what they heard and viewed him as an enemy.
This truth teller brought the truth of the gospel to them (v.13)–this Truth that set them free from their to sin! But now that he is pointing out errors in their understanding of how a Christian life should be lived, they turned bitter cold toward this truth teller…
But that’s the cold hard truth of ministry–that when a particular truth is NOT what people want to hear, they turn away to someone else (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3-4). After all, everyone likes truth that’s easy to swallow and digest. When I give good tidings of good cheer to people, they thank me, appreciate me, and want to name their firstborn after me!
But when I tell the truth of how they need to change, the truth of their errors/blindspots/sins, and the truth of humble repentance required, they’d rather go to someone else…perhaps to a good-fortune teller. And sometimes, it even results in painful rifts in relationships and the truth-teller might be viewed as an enemy.
It’s one of the occupational hazards of being a pastor. As a chemist, an occupational hazard was the toxic chemicals like benzene that might harm me physically. But as a pastor, there are other occupational hazards like emotional harm that can arise when I am viewed as a “bad guy” or even an enemy for proclaiming truth. I wonder how many a tears Apostle Paul shed as he wrote, “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
But truth be told: I cannot shrink back from telling God’s truth to people who need to hear it. I’d much rather be a Truth teller that God likes, than a fortune teller that everyone likes–so help me God.