Honesty and Forgiveness

Steve Arterburn

Emotions are a funny thing. We all know what they are, but where do they come from? They seem to flow from the core of your being, from deep down inside. And if you’ve developed the pattern of denying or hiding your feelings, you’ll lose the very sense of who you really are—who God created you to be.  Don’t believe me?  Consider the prophet Jeremiah.

When you read the Old Testament book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote, you’ll see that you have nothing to fear about bringing even your most raw or maybe what you think are embarrassing emotions to God.

Jeremiah was intensely honest in sharing his broken heart with God.  But what follows his grief?  When Jeremiah finished his grieving, he turned to God to seek forgiveness.  The book ends with a question of remorse: ‘Are you angry with us still?’ the prophet asks.  Have you ever asked that question?  Behind this question is Jeremiah’s humility, coupled with his hope that God will start the process toward reconciliation and forgiveness.  Jeremiah knew God’s heart, so he knew that God would forgive.  If you truly repent of your sin, you can be sure that God will forgive you too—no matter how great your sins and failures.  You need to come humbly before him and place your life in his strong, gentle hands.

Isaiah

Steve Arterburn

God called Isaiah to be a prophet.  His ministry extended for more than forty years.  
All we know about this prophet indicates that he was one of the greatest people of his time.  His name means, ‘The Lord is salvation.’ This meaning is especially appropriate since he speaks throughout his book of God’s gracious promises of comfort and deliverance for his people.  His book is a masterpiece, suggesting that Isaiah possessed considerable intelligence and education.  But that’s not all; Isaiah was also a husband and a father.  

So what can modern men learn from this prophet of old?  Although Isaiah had many gifts, his success was primarily a result of his humility and faithfulness to God’s will for his life.  When God called him, Isaiah had an overwhelming sense of his own sinfulness.  He started where all men need to start:  He admitted his sin and sought God for cleansing and renewal.  Then, when God revealed his will for Isaiah, the prophet pursued God’s plan with determination.  He spoke and lived out God’s will for him despite the opposition he faced.  As a result, God used him to confront his people with their sin and to comfort his people as they faced a painful future.  Through his words and life, Isaiah has blazed a trail for the spiritual growth of all men.  

If you’re a man, you’re called to lead well’to lead well you need to begin with humility and faith.

Samuel

Steve Arterburn

Samuel was one of the great men of faith and one of the great leaders in Israel’s history.  He served as priest, prophet, and Israel’s last judge.  Look at what the Bible says about him. ‘As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful.  All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 3:19-20).  

But Samuel was human, and he had blind spots.  Samuel appointed his sons as judges in his place.  The problem was that his sons were not the men of character that he was.  Instead, Scripture tells us they ‘were greedy for money.  They accepted bribes and perverted justice.’  The people tried to tell Samuel, but for whatever reason he had a blind spot when it came to his family.  

We often develop blind spots with regard to someone we love and want to protect.  If Samuel had heard the people’s complaints with openness, he may have seen the truth before it was too late.  Then he could have corrected the problem and held his sons accountable for their actions before it was too late.  If others around you are telling you things you don’t want to hear, maybe you should stop and evaluate carefully what’s being said.  

Do you need to be honest about someone in your life’a friend, child, a family member?  Take your blinders off.