Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Staying Connected
February 28 – March 5
Scripture Passage: “Teach me your way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”    Psalms 86:11
Dear Friends,
     I have had the distinct pleasure for the past two months to preach from I Corinthians 13 on Love. The chapter is short, the message is long, and the meaning is deep. It has been as if God has been teaching us about love, forgiveness and generous giving. Some have been soaking in the messages while others ignore them. Some are growing in their love and commitment while others are tired of the subject and ready to move on. Another one of these deep subjects is the topic of truth. Jesus said He was truth. (John 14:6) “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)   “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”    (John 8:36) “Sanctify them through your truth: your Word is truth.” (John 17:17) On a secular side, in the movie classic, A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson played a marine officer who was called as a witness in a murder trial concerning a man under his command. As the Jag officer, Tom Cruise, turns up the heat during the interrogation process, Nicholson’s character goes from being calm, cool, and collected to agitated and confrontational. In the climax of the movie, Cruise continually pushes for the truth and in a moment of frustration, Nicholson screams from the witness stand, “You can’t handle the truth.” It was a defining moment in the movie and a strong statement of fact that reveals itself over and over again in dirty trenches of day to day living. 
     In my experience of dealing with people through college, teaching school, music and youth ministry and now pastoring churches, very few people can handle the truth. Most absolutely refuse to see it or even believe what they know in their hearts to be true. For every story you hear involving a love gone bad, a relationship broken, or a scandalous perversion of justice, there is another story behind the scenes that goes unspoken or unheard. When you have been somewhere a long time in a role of leadership, you carry this knowledge like a millstone around your neck because you know you CANNOT say all that you know because it will never be taken as it is intended. So you walk around heavy hearted and burdened, praying for grace and the ability to be quiet while waiting for the next explosion to take place.  When I was little, I had the croup. I had to take a little purple pill, crushed up in a teaspoon of water. Just talking about it brings that awful taste back to my mouth. I hated it then, and I still hate it today. Momma would always say that I had to take that bitter pill if I ever wanted to get better and be able to go outside and play. So I took what I did not want to take, so that I would get better. We have come a long way in the development of children’s medicines, but not so far in dealing with the bitter pill of criticism. Not all criticism is bad because some of it is true. If we take that criticism and build upon it we become stronger and more effective in our work or relationships. If we refuse to listen or recognize the truth, we continue to carry the bitter pill in our pocket that holds the medicine that would heal us if we would just take it. So goes the circle of human relationships. Jesus always spoke the truth and there were times it offended and hurt those who heard it. If they accepted it, they always got better and moved forward. If they rejected it, they wallowed in their self-pity and bitterness and eventually died in it. What would you do with the truth if you knew it? 
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny