As the election campaign heats up, political commentators and the public in general are watching every move and listening to every word that comes from the lips of the political candidates. This week there was a bit of a furor as Senator Barack Obama spoke some things which his opponents did not hesitate to brand as "demeaning" and "elitist" among others. This brought to mind some of the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ which many times inflamed the ire of his listeners, chief of whom were the religious leaders of His day.
Listen to some of Jesus' words: "... Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye" (Luke 6:42). "Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?" (Matthew 23:17) and "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (v27).
Strong words indeed. But Jesus was not running for office. He was not trying to win the popular vote. He had simply come to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). He didn't care whether they liked Him or not. But He did care that they would mend their ways and seek after God with their whole hearts, and if using strong language would help them do that, then that's what He would do.
The Bible tells us that even some of Jesus' disciples left Him after they heard His words. And those who had the power to do so eventually brought charges against Jesus and had Him crucified. But many were convicted by His words, and continue to be convicted, and are saved.
As Christians we are called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and even though we may not want to hurt people's feelings, we must speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). We cannot sugar-coat the truth or compromise the word of God in our day to day interaction with others. Even Paul asked the question, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"(Galatians 4:16).
Let us not be as politicians who strive to say the right thing in order to be popular, but rather let us witness truthfully, and by so doing we will save others from the fires of hell. God bless.