by Ronald H. Matthews

The Truth Cuts like a Knife
Ronald Matthews
Matthew 10:24-39

Do you remember the line from the ___ movie with Jack Nicholson, where he responds in answer to a request for the truth: "The truth? You can't handle the truth!" Today's lesson speaks a truth which is also hard to handle. It is brutal in its honesty and much of the time we don't want the honest truth--we prefer some more comfortable version that is not so upsetting. We prefer our Jesus to be meek and mild, gentle and loving. But here Jesus tells the truth about the cost of discipleship and that truth cuts us to the bone; exposing our innermost selves to the search light of God's word.

Jesus says He did not come to bring peace to the earth; but instead brings a sword. He was right up front about the cost of discipleship. Too often we in the church soft peddle the truth. We are so eager to get folks in the church that we don't tell them the whole truth. Perhaps we fear "they can't handle it." Or maybe, we "can't handle it"? Acknowledging the truth about the cost of taking Christ seriously and choosing to follow Him is a serious matter. We prefer the seemingly easier way of "feel good religion", which usually has no serious repercussion on our normal routines and may actually reinforce our preoccupation with self interest.

We have become an unabashedly self-absorbed society. We are so busy taking care of our needs we have little time in our lives for others, much less God. In our culture, Christianity is just one option amid the array of possibilities on our quest for personal fulfillment. Too many in the church react to this self-centeredness by aiding and abetting this inward focus by trying to be sure that we "meet every conceivable need of the members". This often leaves little time to think about the mission of the church, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Have we forgotten that disciples are soldiers in God's army, not members of God's country club?

Back where I gre ...

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