Can You Handle the Truth?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Can You Handle the Truth?

Never again will there be any worthless vision or deceptive divination in the house of Israel. (CEB)

Ezekiel 12:24

The 1992 film A Few Good Men features one of the most intense and famous court scenes in all of cinema. Lt. Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) is interrogating Col. Nathan Jessup (played by Jack Nicholson) concerning a death that happened to one of his men. In an extremely tense moment, Jessup asks Kaffee, “You want answers?” Kaffee responds, “I want the truth!” Jessup replies, “You can’t handle the truth.”

I wonder, can I handle the truth? Can you handle the truth? Or would you rather have niceties that please your ears and coddle your soul?

That’s what the leaders of Israel were delivering to the people in the days prior to the Babylonian invasion. The priests and so-called prophets reassured the people that the visions of destruction would not be fulfilled (11:22).

Yet, the Lord had other ideas. Through Ezekiel, he proclaimed that it would soon be the time “for the fulfillment of every vision” (11:23). Moreover, “Never again will there by any worthless vision or deceptive divination in the house of Israel” (11:24). The Hebrew word translated as “deceptive” has the literal sense of slippery. It often implies flattery. While the faithless leaders of Israel had coddled the people with flattering but false words, Ezekiel and those who follow him would speak the truth, whether or not the people could handle it.

God’s Word is truth, and some of this truth is not pleasant to hear. Scripture announces our sinfulness, our lostness, our desperation apart from God. Many preachers and teachers today have found it convenient to ignore our personal sin, choosing instead to offer encouraging platitudes and pop wisdom. They give people what they want to hear, even if it isn’t the truth.

So, again I ask myself, do I really want the truth? Can I handle the truth? How about you? Can you handle the truth?

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How willing are you to hear the truth about yourself? Are you open to hearing God’s Word when it confronts and challenges you? When is the last time you felt convicted by a passage of Scripture? When is the last time you were stunned by the truth of the Gospel?

PRAYER: O God, can I handle the truth? Can I handle your truth? Am I willing to hear what your Word says about me? Am I open to confronting the truth of my sinfulness, my neediness, my brokenness?

Lord, I expect that answers to questions like these are “Yes” and “No.” Yes, I want to hear what you want to say to me. No, I’m afraid of what I might hear. Yes, I want to be made whole. No, I’m not sure I want to deal openly with the brokenness in my life. Yes, I want to handle the truth. No, I’m not sure I can.

How I thank you, Lord, that you have not left me alone in the truth-handling business. Thank you for speaking to me in ways I can understand. Thank you for giving me your Spirit, who teaches and convicts me. Thank you for the reassurance of your mercy and grace, which gives me confidence to hear what you have to say to me.

O Lord, help me to receive your truth afresh, both the bad news of my sin and the amazing good news of your saving love. Amen.