When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the official in charge of the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple. (Jeremiah 20:1-2)
“The truth will set you free, but first it may make you miserable” – so said the poster at my Grandma’s house when I was growing up. I remember the poster distinctly as it had a very unhappy doll on the front of it. Apparently that doll had told the truth and lived to pay for it.
The fact is, sometimes telling the truth hurts us.* In the case of Jeremiah, he told the truth, and he was beaten for it and then thrown in the stocks. Throughout history, the fate of God-fearing people who speak the truth isn’t too far from that; many have even given their lives to share the truth with others.
So is it worth speaking truth if you may have to suffer? In order to answer that, I think it’s wise to consider the consequences of staying silent: people who might have been willing to listen may never again get an opportunity to hear. Additionally, you may not have peace with God because you haven’t fulfilled what He asked you to do.
Important in the process of truth-telling is a refusal to bludgeon another person with your words. Sometimes saying the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. If you allow God to lead you as Jeremiah did, then you can be confident in knowing that you are doing as God desires… and you will find freedom in that.
Father, sometimes telling the truth is hard. In fact, sometimes it’s very costly. Rather than being intimidated by the potentially repercussions of telling the truth, let me rest confidently in the knowledge that You will care for me. Give me wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent, and give me peace in the end.