My goal in this series is our greater joy in Jesus, even in complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, etc. So, each time I will offer a buffet on 8 ‘P’s of good news. Chew and savor whatever helps your joy in Jesus. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)
Joy comes by Life from God, through God, and for God as revealed in the Bible. (Romans 11:33-36) And the Plain-Speaking of Christ is the second ‘P’ of the good news. Like a good physician, God tells us the bad news we need to hear. Otherwise, we’d be worse off than a terminal patient who doesn’t know their status, much less the cure. You can watch the video below to learn Man’s prognosis without Christ.
Still, we tend to seek our own definition of plain-speaking and its goodness. Without Christ’s gracious intervention, our natural inclination is to speak plainly about others but overlook or rationalize our own sins and struggles. A 2006 study by Park, Peterson, Seligman reflects this. In it, they polled 84,000 Americans online to identify commonly observed values in the U.S. Of the 24 named, the top three were ‘generosity, fairness, and honesty’, but the last three were ‘discretion, humility, and self-control’. In other words, we are more likely to give freely to others – including a piece of our mind – than to check our pride and impulses so we can receive what they have to say. In fact, without Christ’s presence, Proverbs 25:28 describes anyone without self-control as a city with no walls. In the next video you can listen to another talk with my Mom on the need for good news in plain-speaking in specific contexts.
Like all the other ‘P’s of the gospel, a person’s view of plain-speaking is tied to their sense of purpose. Look back at the introductory video on the chiastic structure of Genesis 1 and 2. That blueprint of the gospel in the creation week foreshadows that every person’s actions, beliefs, emotions, etc. always center on purpose, consciously or not. Consider how that axiom relates to plain-speaking (candor). If my goal is to elevate my reputation, I might only tell you the best about myself and/or say bad things about others to try to improve my image by comparison. Yes, gossipers and slanderers typically only look worse, but fearful or proud hearts can blind even the best minds. Or if my purpose is to have as much health or wealth as possible, I might fear offending anyone who could help me prosper. Thus, I could refuse to speak out against injustices against me or others in my rocking boat. I might even try to hinder them from speaking out. Again, our sense of purpose guides our view of plain-speaking.
In the video below the image of tall buildings with VIPs on the top floor pictures an ongoing reality of vertical separations in this world. “High and lifted up” VIPs may elevate themselves for different reasons, but God’s ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:1-9) Reflect on the following on the image of separation and plain-speaking.
- Note Jesus’ plain-speaking on God’s separation from Man in Luke 17:20-37.
- What reasons does Jesus give for His plain-speaking? (John 3:12, 6:63, & 15:3)