St. Augustine wrote in Augustine Confessions:
"Thus they hate the truth for the sake of that other thing which they love because they take it for truth. They love truth when it enlightens them, they hate truth when it accuses them. Because they do not wish to be deceived and do wish to deceive, they love truth when it reveals itself, and hate it when it reveals them."
We like genuineness when it suits or helps us, but not so much when it exposes us or shows our wrong motives or conduct. Perhaps that is why there is a Jewish parable that says, “Truth is heavy, so few men carry it.”
I heard a story on the radio recently of a policeman who was searching a man. As he went through his pockets he discovered several bags full of illegal drugs. Before he could say anything, the man gave him an exasperated look and said, “These aren’t my pants!”
Did you know that bugle calls are sometimes used for giving commands to large formations of soldiers? Rather than have the adjutant or commander of troops yell out the command, a simple bugle call suffices. But if the bugler accidently sounds the wrong tone or series of notes, the formation will be in trouble. They might present arms (salute) instead of coming to attention, or go to parade rest instead of making a facing movement.
My son Bryan was invited to share his story at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He was one of two featured speakers on a night when almost every participant in the room shared some kind of disability. Disabilities included Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), asthma, depression, cancer, arthritis, etc. Each person was asked to write a poem about their challenges and to highlight what was bad as well as what was good. Then, throughout the evening, volunteers could come to the front of the room and share what they wrote.
John the Baptist was discouraged. The imprisoned forerunner to Jesus was unable to personally witness Jesus at work. He begin to have doubts as to if Jesus truly was the Messiah. So he sent his disciples to ask the Lord, “Are You the One who is come, or should we look for someone else?” It was an honest question from a godly prophet.
Luke 7:22--He replied to them, “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.
There is a popular phrase passed along by leaders, “Always praise publically, criticize or correct privately.” Unfortunately, this gets violated all too often in organizations where insecure or unthoughtful people publicly criticize employees, family members, or co-workers. I once had a fellow team member complain to the program director over his offense at some of my closing remarks. Rather than just come and tell me, he went “over my head.” When the director mentioned his complaint to me I was surprised and lost respect for a fellow leader who prides himself in leading yet was unprofessional by not speaking directly to me.
AC Stein fought as an infantryman in the Korean War. During one ground battle AC was pinned down in a trench under severe artillery bombardment. His comrades were dying all around him when suddenly the man next to him was shot and mortally wounded. In great fear, AC recited the only Jewish prayer he could remember from his childhood. As he looked up at a bare tree above him he saw an angel sitting there. The angel said, “AC, you will live. Just stay down in the trench.” As it turned out he was the only man to survive that heavily-attacked ditch.
The word eristicis of Greek origin and refers to those who argue simply for the purpose of winning, regardless of the reason. The word animus comes to us from Latin and means strong dislike. We know this as animosity. While these two words share nothing in common, I believe that the former can lead to the latter causing the two to become intricately linked.
Do you remember growing up hearing the rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!?” The intent of that couplet is to steel us against teasing and badgering but, the reality is, words can internally leave nasty marks. Cruel, mean-spirited, or foul comments may inflict enduring damage and color the way we view the antagonist.