Summary: Truths are hard because they are hard to grasp, hard to accept, or hard to practice, or live out. They’re hard to practice because the hard truths of scripture require something of us.
The Hard Truth
September 4, 2005
I could very easily title this morning’s sermon, Lessons from LouAnn. That’s because several weeks ago, the inspiration for this morning’s message came from Lou Ann Goodbary. Do you all know LouAnn? LouAnn has been here at TCF longer than most of us, I figure about 30 years, and when most of us compare our commitment to being at church with hers, we’d probably come out on the short end.
LouAnn loves to be here at church, and LouAnn has a genuine love for the Lord, as well as a desire to see the people she lives with come to Christ. LouAnn lives in a very difficult place, Woodland Park Home. She lives there because her epileptic seizures have taken a toll on her through the years, and she needs the help she can get in this home. But it’s a difficult place to live, because there are some people there who are hard to live with.
A few months ago, when we were sharing prayer requests in the house church, LouAnn spoke up and asked us to pray for her. Apparently, sometimes people harass her, and poke and prod her. She asked us for prayer so that, as she put it, “she wouldn’t slug people.”
We thought that was a worthy prayer, so we prayed that God would help LouAnn not to slug people. When LouAnn asks for prayer, we take her seriously, so after we prayed for her, I felt the Lord directing me to a passage of scripture to read her after our prayer time was over.
I thought of Matthew 5:
Matthew 5:38-42 (NIV) "You have heard that it was said, ’Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Now, I wasn’t wanting to encourage LouAnn to be a punching bag, to stand there and take it, but to encourage her not to retaliate, not to take vengeance into her own hands. That’s the gist of these words of Jesus.
Well, LouAnn listened to the passage of scripture, and then said to me, “I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t like it.” Don’t you love LouAnn’s honesty?
At that moment, after the laughter died down, I said, “I sure understand that, LouAnn, because there are hard truths in scripture we sometimes don’t like very much.”
And I knew I would, eventually, preach this sermon at TCF. And though, I could call it Lessons from LouAnn, I’m calling this morning’s sermon, The Hard Truth.
That’s because this is a reality…there is truth. It is knowable, if not always fully understandable. But often, the truth is hard. I think it’s hard for three primary reasons. Now, this may not be an exhaustive list of why the truth can be hard. You might be able to think of others, but it’ll do for this morning, and it will help us address some things that are important about the truth.
First, truths are hard because they’re hard to grasp, or understand fully.
Second, a truth can be hard because it’s hard to accept.
Finally, and perhaps the one that presents us the most difficulty in life, truth can be hard because it’s hard to practice, or hard to live by.
You’ll note the acronym GAP. There is a truth gap. This is how I helped myself remember why truths are hard. Hard to Grasp. Hard to Accept. Hard to Practice.
There’s often something, some sort of gap, between the truth and us, that relates to one of these three things. If you think about it, at least one of these things often comes between us and the truth. Sometimes it’s more than one. Some truths are hard to grasp and hard to accept. Other truths are hard to accept and hard to practice. I suppose there are also some that are all three.
We can think of some truths we see around us in the everyday world that are hard to grasp, or fully understand. Now, just because there’s someone who can grasp how we can take moving pictures with a video camera, have that camera send those pictures to a video console, have that video console put those pictures together with a graphic or two, have those moving pictures sent to a transmitter, sent 22,300 miles into space to a geosynchronous orbiting satellite, and then back down to a receiver, which then takes that video and sends it through wires, or perhaps through the air, to a receiver in my television set, where I can press a button – that would be the “on” button – and see what’s happening at this moment in New Orleans, or New York, or China for that matter, doesn’t mean that I can fully grasp it all.