In 2006, former Vice-President Al Gore, starred in a documentary about global warming called, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The film won two Academy Awards and led to Al Gore receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
The thrust of the documentary is that some people reject or ignore the idea of global warming because it would be too inconvenient for them to do something about it. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with the film. I honestly don’t know enough about the issue to have an educated opinion. I do find the title to be interesting, though.
An Inconvenient Truth.
God gave the Prophet Jeremiah a difficult task. He sent him to tell the people what they didn’t want to hear. Because of their sin, God was going to send the Babylonians to take them into captivity and destroy the city of Jerusalem. Nobody wanted to hear that. Everybody hated poor Jeremiah because of it.
What made matters worse is that a number of false prophets were telling the people, “God would never do that.” They were God’s people. He would never let the city of Jerusalem or the temple be destroyed.
Jeremiah was persecuted, beat up, thrown into a pit and eventually led off in chains. The Babylonians did come, however, and did exactly what Jeremiah said they would do.
Every time I feel sorry for myself as a pastor – every time I want to complain about how difficult my ministry is – I remember poor Jeremiah. God sent him to proclaim a truth nobody wanted to hear.
As Christians living in 21st Century America, God has given us the same task as Jeremiah: share an unpopular truth nobody really wants to hear. In our world today, the only thing not tolerated is intolerance. The only true sin is to say that what somebody else is doing is wrong. That’s unloving. That’s racist. That’s being a Christian Nazi.
But God commands us to preach his law anyway – to call a sin a sin – to talk about guilt and God’s punishment. Nobody likes to talk about those things. It’s not fun when people point out our faults to us. What the Bible says about sin – especially about things like human sexuality – angers many people.
Many in our world would rather not talk about it. Many don’t consider it sin. In the end, though, we don’t get to decide what is or is not a sin. God does. He tells us clearly in his Word.
But that is an inconvenient truth. People don’t want to hear it. Just look at the uproar caused by the United Methodist Church recently when they affirmed what the Bible says about homosexuality. People in our country, even many Christians, were infuriated.
That shouldn’t surprise us, though. God said it would be that way. The Apostle Paul wrote to young Pastor Timothy, “The time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3).
All of us need to hear the truth of God’s law. Sin is sin. We are guilty. We deserve to go to hell. If we fail to realize that, then the good news of the gospel will seem like an unnecessary truth.
The Prophet Jeremiah told the people that if they repented, God in his great love would forgive them. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, there isn’t a sin God won’t forgive. But when you think you’re okay just how you are – then God’s promises of love and forgiveness seem unnecessary.
God’s Word is an inconvenient truth. God grant us the courage to lovingly and firmly share the truth of his law and the truth of his love, even if people don’t want to hear it. Because, in the end, whether you want to hear it or not, it’s the truth.