Counted an Enemy for Speaking the Truth
Jeremiah 38:4
Therefore the princes said to the king, We beseech you, let this man be put to death…

Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? said Ahab to Elijah. The Israelites were about to stone the two faithful spies. And here the prophet of God was, as in these other and in many more instances, counted an enemy for speaking the truth. And a like alienation of mind and heart often takes place now for the same reason - the telling of unwelcome truth. Now, note -

I. WHEREFORE DO MEN SO DISLIKE TRUTH? Some of the reasons are:

1. Because truth must often say many things that are unpleasing. No matter by what voice the message comes - Scripture, conscience, or our fellow men, - truth at times will become censure, and that hurts our self-love.

2. We are not really in earnest in our desire to be set right. We profess to be so, but we are not. "I have been a great sinner," said a sick man to his minister, who was sitting by his bedside. "Yes," said the minster, "you have," "Who told you, I should like to know?" angrily exclaimed the sick man indignant that anything more special and personal than vague general confession should be thought to be needed by him. He had no desire for cure, but only for comfort.

3. Pride has much to do with this dislike of truth. Our reprover becomes for the time being our superior, stands above and over us, and we do not like this.

4. There may be real difference of opinion on the point in dispute; hence the censured has the further offence of being condemned on what he deems partial evidence.

5. Because of our suspicion of the motives of him who speaks the unwelcome truth. We are slow to credit such with purity and unselfishness of motive. We think not only of what is said, but of who says it

II. HENCE IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO TELL UNPLEASANT TRUTHS. Most men avoid it, will say nothing, will shirk the duty by every conceivable means. No one likes to act the part of the candid friend. None like to be the bearers of ill tidings. David's servants feared to tell him that his child was dead. How we admire, because of its rarity and difficulty, the fidelity of Nathan's "Thou art the man"!

III. BUT NEVERTHELESS SUCH TRUTH OUGHT TO BE SPOKEN WHEN NECESSARY. It is not always necessary. Often not wise. "The chapter of accidents is the Bible of the fool." To let hard facts speak is sometimes best. But not always. Hence when unwelcome truth has to be spoken, take care:

1. To be very certain of your ground. Do not go upon mere rumour. Let your proof be full, clear, and strong.

2. Let the purity of your motive in speaking, the unselfishness and the love for your brother which prompt you, be made manifest.

3. Choose fit times, tones, and words. Many reserve their telling of such truths for moments when they are in a passion; then they will blurt it out, and, of course, only do more harm than good.

4. Be strengthened by the remembrance of the duty you owe your brother, and the accusation he will have against you of blood guiltiness, if you fail to tell him the truth, unwelcome though it be.

IV. SUCH TRUTH SO SPOKEN, IF REJECTED, IS FOLLOWED BY THE CONDEMNATION OF GOD ON THEM WHO REJECT IT. It is part of that condemnation that men take friends for foes, as Ahab did, and foes for friends. They love flattery and hate truth; the blind lead the blind, and with the inevitable result. Therefore let our feeling be that of the psalmist, who said, "Let the righteous smite me; it shall be kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head." - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.

WEB: Then the princes said to the king, "Please let this man be put to death; because he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man doesn't seek the welfare of this people, but the hurt."

Unpatriotic in Appearance
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