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.