Summary: There are plenty of difficult times in life. Some are more breath-taking than others. What do you do when faced with life’s difficult tasks?

21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” 24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way. [1]

The Scripture reading on the lectionary for that day was all about the coming of Messiah, the Savior. Jesus was the visiting preacher, come home to spend a bit of time with family and childhood friends. He was asked to be the lector and so he opened the scroll and read the Scripture to his hometown church.

Then he sat down, the position of teaching in that day, (probably) drew a long, nerve-settling breath and said something like, “You’ve heard it…now you’re looking at it!”

This statement of Jesus’ was an announcement that the Kingdom was here on earth – that here, right in Nazareth, the son of a carpenter was really the Son of God. The people probably looked at him like they would have looked at the any other small town boy who told the village leaders that they were looking at God.

To imagine Jesus as a lightning rod and the gathered crowd as storm clouds pregnant with bolts of electronic havoc is not a hard stretch. The crowd wanted to put Jesus to death! This brings us to the main point…to wit:

Telling the truth – even in church – can get you in big trouble.

There was an elderly lady who came through the sanctuary door. Nobody seemed to know her. The head usher greeted her and asked where she would like to sit. “I’d like to sit right in the front row, please.” The head usher grimaced at the thought and said to the lady, “Ma’am, you don’t want to do that.”

She replied, “I don’t’?”

“No, you really don’t. Our pastor is OK, but his sermons are really kind of boring. People have fallen asleep right in that front row.”

“Young, man,” began the elderly woman, “do you know who I am?

“No” said the usher.

“Well, I’m the pastor’s mother.”

“Oh” said the usher, “well, do you know who I am?”

“No” was her reply.

“Good” said the usher, and headed out the back door!

Truth is a very powerful resource, whether used or withheld. Telling the truth has its risks.

Now, with that said, we remember that Jesus said the truth will set you free. And so, the question is ever, HOW SHALL WE TREAT THE TRUTH?

The truth in America is certainly becoming an endangered species. According to a study entitled, The Day America Told the Truth [2] 74 percent of Americans will steal from those who won’t miss it, and 64 percent will lie for convenience as long as no one is hurt.

Most Americans (93 percent) say they alone decide moral issues, basing their decisions on their own experience or whims. Eighty-four percent say they would break the rules of their own religion. And 81 percent have a violated a law they felt to be inappropriate.

Only 30 percent say they would be willing to die for their religious beliefs or for God.

Another study addresses some of the root causes of the national obsession with “having it your way” with your “version” of the truth.[3]

Why we are reluctant to be candid:

* Fear. If you tell someone the truth, you run the

risk of being rejected. The truth is not always pleasant, and it’s not always welcome.

* It’s difficult. When answers are difficult, most of us are uncomfortable giving them.

* Need to win. Some think truth is not as important as the need to win, protecting your ego at any cost - even at the cost of compromising truth.

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