1 Kings 22:7-9 Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?
8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “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.”
“The king should not say that,” Jehoshaphat replied.
9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”
The King of Israel has 400 “prophets” telling him what he wants to hear, but Jehoshaphatwonders if there isn’t a prophet of the Lord. “Why yes there is,” he is told. But the King doesn’t really want to talk to him. Why? Because Micaiah never tells the King what he wants to hear – he just tells the truth.
Imagine that? The truth? Huh?
Recently I read an online comment that said, “never ask @ahockley‘s opinion if you aren’t prepared for the truth.” This was written by a software developer who was more than slightly wounded by the truth. Of course this developer wanted the truth, it’s the only way to get a final product that can pass muster. However, when one has put hours, days, months, and possibly years into the development of your “baby,” it is difficult to hear criticism. We want people to heap praise on us and tell us what a great job we did.
- “Wow! This is awesome!”
- “This is the most incredible piece of software I’ve ever seen in my life!”
- “You, Mr. Software Guy, are amazing?”
But instead, what these people frequently hear is akin to: “Interesting work; but could you tweak this, fix that, and add these features?” And the developer has to swollor their pride and go back to the code.
Kings, leaders, CEOs, presidents, coaches, and pastors often have the same issues. Breaking our backs to create a better world and a better life for those in it, but most of the time what we hear is akin to: “How come you didn’t do it THIS way!!!” Rarely are we thanked for pointing out the obvious to people.
It has been my observation that the most loved pastors are those who love people. That is their gift – they are shepherds; gentle, calm, friendly, graceful, sanguine, loving and lovable. FEw tof the preceding words are used to describe me. I am more of a “truth-teller” and not so much of a grace-giver.” People don’t necessarily like that.
Fortunately I’ve never been locked up and fed nothing but bread and water, but it has felt that way at times.
I often feel like Jack Nicholson’s character said in the movie A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!”
Lord, help me to only speak the truth in love. Help me to only speak the truth under your direction. Help me to only speak the truth when necessary. Help me to only speak the truth with courage.
I love you too God!