Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?" (Matthew 15:12).
You may have read or heard the now-famous prayer from a couple of years ago, spoken by a Wichita pastor before legislators in the Kansas House of Representatives. The prayer was widely circulated, but it would be good to remember it.
Pastor Joe Wright of the Central Christian Church, prayed: "We confess we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem."
One legislator walked out. But Wright continued. "We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment."
Pastor Wright closed with a plea for God's forgiveness, blessing and wisdom.
Reflecting the values of many in secular society, one legislator called the prayer "divisive, sanctimonious, self-serving, and overbearing."
Though what Pastor Wright prayed was politically incorrect, he told the truth. The truth is not popular. It offends the guilty. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the Master of telling the truth, which cut to the quick of the religious hypocrites and offended the guilty. That is one reason they hated Him.
For example, on one occasion, the Lord rebuked the Pharisees: "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it" (Luke 11:42-44, NIV).
The Lord was also the Master of speaking love and grace. When we speak in public, our words must also be "full of grace" (Colossians 4:6, NIV). But sometimes, as the Spirit leads, we must simply and courageously speak the plain-old, unadulterated truth.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.