Do not fear speaking truth

“Elihu continued:

‘Bear with me a little longer and I will show you that there is more to be said in God’s behalf. I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker. Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.”

Job 36:1-4

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a very blunt person. I can’t flirt nor recognize half the time when someone is flirting with me. I’m not good at small talk in general. When someone is trying to be very discrete in their meaning, it’s sometimes lost on me. There are also those moments when, in the midst of conversation, I’ll blurt out something without much thought and those around me look in shock, which is something else that sometimes confuses me because I think the thing I blurt out was obvious.

Because of people’s reactions, for the first two years after accepting my salvation I feared opening my mouth. This added to people’s suspicions that I was shy. Granted, I don’t speak a lot around new people, but it isn’t because I’m nervous. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to add or say. However, in regards to being blunt, I was afraid of offending someone and the shocked faces were a result of ‘I can’t believe she just said that’.

I guess that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy reading Paul’s letters and about the life of Elihu in the Book of Job. Paul, obviously, was very blunt:

“Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God, if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth — you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’.”

Romans 2:24

Even though Paul often asked his friends to pray that he be more bold in speaking the Gospel, he wasn’t afraid to be blunt. He knew speaking the raw truth sometimes hurts, but whether it hurts or not, truth helps us grow. Without truth, our house is filled with termites and will collapse with time. The thing is God is truth and love; He is our living water and without Him we cannot grow spiritually.

Moving on to Elihu, the Book of Job sees the man called Job suffering after he has lost nearly everything. (There’s a comedian named Tim Hawkins who said not everyone is blessed by having a wife. The devil took everything from Job: his house, his kids, his servants…but he didn’t take the wife. 😀 To be honest, until I heard that joke, I forgot Job even had one.) Throughout the book, Job struggles to understand why all this is happening to him. Eventually, four of his friends come to him.

The first three – Zophar, Eliphaz, and Bidad – dealt harshly with Job instead of comforting him. They believed he had done something against God that he needed to repent for. Job on the other hand thought God was abandoning him, crying out in chapter 13 for God not to leave him. Thankfully, Elihu steps up to the plate.

“So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu son of Barakel, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. Now Eilhu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

“So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said: ‘I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom’. But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.”

Job 32:1-9

While Elihu ended up not speaking all the truth God needed him to speak, he still spoke more than what all those around him did. He spoke it bluntly, too!

Late last year during a Bible Study group, we were discussing how Paul must have felt when he rebuked Peter — the one known to have been best friends with Jesus — for his favoritism (Galatians 2:11-21). While most of the group said he was probably nervous, I wondered out loud if he was just doing what he knew to be right before proceeding to admit my fear of offending people by being blunt. Turns out, people wanted me to be blunt, and knowing that was freeing.

In this world, there are so many lies told everyday. Make-up isn’t a beauty enhancer; it’s a mask. Aging shouldn’t be avoided no matter the price tag; it should be embraced, for gray hair is a crown of splendor and laugh lines show a life lived in joy. Sex isn’t something to be done with several people nor displayed for all the world to see. It’s supposed to be something beautiful and intimate between a husband and his wife. Marriage isn’t a ball-and-chain nor isn’t something to be treated as if it were nothing. It’s a vow that no matter what the world throws at you, you face it together and you help each other, especially when it comes to focusing on Jesus. Money and fame isn’t everything. Fame involves having nearly every move you make watched and spied upon. Money is something that comes and goes, but if you spend all your time chasing it, you’ll never get that time back and you’ll realize one day you’ve wasted your life for sheets of paper and bites of metal.

Do not be afraid to speak the truth. It may hurt the one who hears it and they may stay away from you for a while, but the truth sets us free and helps us grow. Don’t regret setting someone free or helping them. As long as it was pure truth it was the right thing to say. As Sheila Walsh once posted on Instagram, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32

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