In 1992, Castle Rock Entertainment Columbia Pictures released the movie: A Few Good Men, which grossed over $243 million at the Box Office. One of the more familiar lines from the movie is spoken during a heated exchange between Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) and Base Commander Colonel Nathan Jessup (played by Jack Nicholson). While Nicholson is under oath, Tom Cruise pushes the Commander to tell the truth about giving an order that resulted in the death of a marine under his command. Lieutenant Kaffee (aka Tom Cruise) emphatically states, “I want the truth!” to which Jack Nicholson immediately replies, “You Can’t Handle the Truth”! At the time of this writing, the scene has 5,741,776 views on YouTube. To this day, when someone says anything close to “tell me the truth” or “I want the truth” there is a good chance someone is going to automatically respond with “You Can’t Handle the Truth”!
In the previous two-blog post SLBC declared our apprehension to being voices for God’s Word. One of the reasons for our apprehension is summed up in the famous line, “You can’t handle the truth”! God’s truth convicts Christians and non-Christians alike. Generally speaking, Christians look for, and join, churches that ‘preach the truth’. However, Christians are also known for leaving churches when the truth being preached addresses a sin in themselves, their family, or a close friend. How do you measure up? Can you handle the truth? Here are some observations of how people react to those being voices for God’s word.
Observation #1: The Bull’s-eye Syndrome. The bulls-eye is the small red circle in the middle of a target. If you were shooting a bow and arrow at a target the goal would be to make the arrow land inside the red circle (bulls-eye). Have you ever had a day when you felt like a big bulls-eye was on your back and everyone was taking aim at you? If so then you understand the bulls-eye syndrome. Consider this question: have you ever sensed God has spoken to you through a sermon, a testimony, or just a conversation with someone? You may have said something like “I think God sent that just for me today?” One side of that coin is positive: this is when God seems to encourage, comfort, or send special instruction through a sermon, testimony, or conversation. Often someone at church will share with the pastor that the sermon was just for them; these people appreciate that God knew what they needed and sent someone to deliver it. But the other side of that coin is negative, such as when the sermon, testimony, or conversation addresses a personal sin or problem. When this happens people are less likely to acknowledge God for recognizing what they need and sending someone to speak truth into their life. Instead they assume the preacher, or person speaking, was intentionally targeting them with the sermon, testimony, conversation, or social media post. Instead of saying “that was just for me, God knew what I needed” people are more likely to express frustration, resentment, or hostility toward the preacher, or person delivering the message. Although Christians desire their churches to preach truth thy often don’t want that truth to land on the bulls-eye of their own shortcomings, failures, or sins. Here is a way to test out our theory. Answer the next question as honestly as you can? When is the last time you felt the sermon or conversation was just for you because it dealt with your sin? Also answer the question: how often in the past year have you been frustrated with a preacher or person for talking about a sin or problem you happen to be involved in? Now one more question: Why is it when the sermon, conversation, etc makes you feel good you credit God for using the person who delivered the message, but when it convicts you of sin you don’t see God as having any part in it. You only blame the person you perceive put a bulls eye on your back and took aim at you?
Is it possible you can’t handle the truth? Is it possible you credit God for speaking comfort and assurance through His word and His messengers but you blame people for meddling, or singling you out when speaking about a sin or problem you are involved in? Shouldn’t you credit and thank God for both the comfort and the conviction? Do you have the bulls-eye syndrome? And finally the biggest question: What are you going to do about it? Here are a few suggestions: (1) confess this to God. He deserves credit for both the comfort and the conviction. (2) stop blaming people and start seeing them as God’s instruments to help you. (3) next time God speaks to you through a person, either for comfort or conviction, share with that person what God is doing in your life through them.
Thank you for reading our blog post. SLBC exist to be voices for God’s word and hands for God’s work. Keep an eye out for our next post covering the second observation of how people react to those being voices to God’s word.