Overcoming our Aversion to Speak the Truth

John 10:31-42

Though we may be extremely devoted to our faith, there’s a temptation on all of our parts at times to not capitalize on the opportunities that come our way, to convince those that are skeptical, about God’s love. In the Gospel, Jesus shows us how to overcome our aversion to speak the truth.

In the Gospel we see that though there was skepticism about Jesus among the Jewish leaders, they had to admit that there was actually something good about him. He was awakening a sense of faith among them. But when he called himself “the Son of God”, that was a bit much for them to handle.  And then he trumped that statement by saying that he was equal to God. At that point, they were ready to stone him.

Looking at the meditation from the Word Among Us Magazine today, it rightly makes the case that if we were in Jesus’ situation, incurring the this kind of wrath, we’d likely be looking for a way to exit stage left. But Jesus responded to them head on, saying, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” 

Jesus wasn’t trying to intimidate them by reminding them of his power; he just wanted them to see that he was ministering his Father’s love to his people. He wasn’t trying to claim any glory for himself. All he wanted to do was give glory to his Father and bring salvation to the people.

The same dynamic holds true for us in our everyday walk. How can we possibly keep quiet about what we know about God? He is the one who sent Jesus to redeem us.  He is the one behind all the works of mercy that occur all around the world. He is the one behind every expression of love, reconciliation, and hope that we speak.

It is his Holy Spirit who gives us our strength. It’s because he has touched our hearts through others, forgiven our sins, and filled us with his love that we can share that love with other people.

But, why do we at times have an aversion to speaking the truth about God?

Let me draw what I think is a parallel from my past work experience. When I worked in sales training in the business banking arena, there were a good number of bankers who had an aversion to the idea of sales.

The sad reality was, and is, that many people in bank branches, would, despite knowing the product well, and believing in it, would rather stay in their little box, execute the transaction or handle the question, with a smile, but they weren't devoted enough to go beyond that point. Why?

It often became clear with many that they didn’t want to be perceived as the pushy, obnoxious, used car salesman-type caricature. And in addition, few like to open themselves up to potential rejection.

But the truth of the matter was, and is, (as we would tell them) it’s not about you (the sales person). It’s about serving the customer. In fact, as a means of overcoming this aversion to thinking of oneself as a sales person, we would describe the art of selling using this definition: "Sales is simply matching a product or service with a want or need." 

Get to know the customer and their needs (businesses have many), and, with the knowledge that the banker has of their bank's services, find those areas where the two (the product and the need) fit together. The customer will end up appreciating their attempt to help them, and, of course, so will the bank. It’s never about wrestling people to the ground trying to convince them to buy. It’s about service to others.

The parallel exists for us in our faith lives.  How closely do our lives resemble the bankers that I have described?  We’re fully convinced that our product (God the Father) is a supremely beneficial product that everyone needs, but we forget that we’re here to serve others. There’s not much chance that the people we are sharing God’s love with will be moved to try to stone us. They’ll appreciate our efforts, and so will God.

                                                                              

If we want to stay strong when the opportunity presents itself to share the Good News with other people, but feel that sense of aversion come upon us, we need to be like Jesus, and stay connected to the Father. Strive to put our relationship with God above everything else. That way, we’ll receive his inspiration, his strength, and his grace.

 

When people see our Father shine through our words and actions, they’ll be drawn to him, and they’ll know that he is the product, he is the answer that they have been looking for all along!

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