Friday, December 12, 2014
Back in the 60’s, a great controversy arose nationally over the rejection of Lyndon B. Johnson of the commissioned presidential portrait of himself. The artist was Peter Hurd and although the president called it “the ugliest thing I ever saw” it hangs at the White House today. I remember LBJ well and, to be honest, I thought the artist did him a great favor despite the president’s claim. To be fair to the artist, both he and the great sketch illustrator, Norman Rockwell, both claimed LBJ was very rude, impatient, and uncooperative when he posed for their drawings. Now to be fair to the president, I also think that most photos of me are ugly, although I won’t be criticizing those who take them. When I see them, I think, “Hey, that’s not me!” Maybe it’s the same situation as the one I wrote about this past Tuesday and I still see myself as I used to be, and not as an old geezer. You know the main reason I don’t like the photos of myself ? I almost always come out as I really am. That’s why I think that I, LBJ, and everyone else just needs to face up to reality once in a while. You’re familiar with the saying “the truth hurts”, right?
All people struggle with accepting the truth at one time or another. I didn’t see the movie, but I have seen the clip many times where Jack Nicholson yells at Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth!” If somebody says that about us, will they be right? I am reminded of the biblical accounts in I Kings and 2 Chronicles of the day when Jehosaphat, king of Judah, agreed to join Ahab, the king of Israel, in his battle against the Arameans. When the king of Judah, after hearing the prophecies of Ahab’s hand-picked priests, asked if there was in Israel a prophet of the Lord they could consult with, this was Ahab’s response: “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” (1 Kings 22:8) I bet you can see that Ahab hated that prophet because he always told him the truth. I’m sure you all remember that Herod, and especially his wife, ordered John the Baptist’s beheading because he denounced their adulterous relationship. They, just like Ahab, definitely could not handle the truth.
Christ’s true followers will all admit that every now and then, they may cringe and even say “ouch” when they read or hear one of God’s truths. Neither is it uncommon to hear some folks declare that they felt the preacher was singling them out and referring to them during his sermon. The truth certainly has that effect. Genuine believers, however, will embrace and accept the truth and learn from it. In the end, they will be thankful that God’s Spirit, more than the preacher, brought it to their attention. God’s Word can make us feel uncomfortable at times, but it is always there to help us, not hurt us. One more reason why we should love the truth is because Jesus is the truth. This is what He said in John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” To love Jesus is to love the truth.
Memory verse for the week: (1 Corinthians 12:27) “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”