My friend, may I ask you a question today? As satisfying a revenge moment can be, how constructive are they? The satisfaction is in the winning and not the truth. When we focus so much on being right the truth, will the truth become a secondary matter, merely collateral to being right?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. .
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One of the most satisfying moments in life growing up as a young boy was the timing and the ability to employ one of the greatest of all ego massagers, “I told you so!” There is sweet revenge in those four little words. It is so satisfying to hold them in reserve, even when you’re not certain of your facts, and then release them at the perfect time, the moment your detractor has witnessed the revelation that your were right in the first place. “See. I told you so!” You are vindicated and your detractor is chastened, and hopefully a bit humiliated for not knowing you were right in the first place. There are few statements that make us feel more smugly satisfied. When our idea of what is true is called into question or worse yet mocked, the truth as we know it or believe it must break through the defenses of our foe. It seems the best way to do that is to employ the most efficient of all blockers: those four words– “I told you so!” Now you’ve broken through his defensive lines and your opponent is left humiliated, chasing down the truth, but you’re clutching it and running downfield. Oh sweet revenge, there’s nothing more satisfying for the moment.
As satisfying a revenge moment can be, how constructive are these really? The satisfaction is in the winning and not the preservation of the truth. When we focus so much on being right the truth can quickly become a secondary matter, merely collateral to the win.
Here’s a story. “When he was an attorney, Abraham Lincoln was once approached by a man who passionately insisted on bringing a suit for $2.50 against an impoverished debtor. Lincoln tried to discourage him, but the man was bent on revenge. When he saw that the man would not be put off, Lincoln agreed to take the case and asked for a legal fee of $10, which the plaintiff paid. Lincoln then gave half the money to the defendant, who willingly confessed to the debt and paid the $2.50! But even more amazing than Lincoln's ingenuous settlement was the fact that the irate plaintiff was satisfied with it.” (Daily Walk, May 22, 1992.)
Jesus was always right in everything that he said even though there were times when some might think his words harsh, perhaps so that they carried an edge of exaggeration that must be in some way fabricated to enhance the point he was making. When he told the rich young man in Luke 18:22 to “. . . sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven,” that must have sounded harsh not only to the rich young man but to the disciples and those who heard it. Jesus, nonetheless, spoke the truth. But, if you notice, he never returned later to focus on how he had been right. He planted his words and knew that these would bear fruit. Unlike my boyhood focus on being right or Lincoln’s client who felt that being right was more important than being just, Jesus was concerned first and foremost FOR the truth. Jesus is truth, so his words are the fertile seeds of truth. There was no need to remonstrate or remind. Yes, his words were often hard, but the truth by nature has a hard edge. Jesus was meticulously planting, not crashing through the dirt clods of error all around him. Jesus leaves the truth with us without the hammer of daring us to believe it. He therefore never has the need to wait around to witness that “I told you so!” moment.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing the truth through your Word without hitting us over the head with it. Forgive us, Lord, when we treat your Word as a hammer to make people believe it when it was always intended to be a seed and not a nail. Help us Lord to speak like Jesus and let the Spirit do the work. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day.
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