Matthew 15:7-12 (NKJV)
7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And[a] honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”[b]
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
Jesus called the religious leaders “Hypocrites”, which was a pretty significant insult in that time. So much so, that His disciples called Him to the side and said in today’s terms… “Uhhh, you know you pissed them off right?”
But, Jesus didn’t say it to make them angry. Jesus didn’t say it to insult them. He didn’t say it to hurt them, He said it to help them, and help us too.
Jesus didn’t insult them, but they were insulted. But, many times we all are when we are confronted with truth about ourselves…we sometimes naturally get defensive.
Even today, truth is a viable defense when accused of defamation. If it’s true, it’s not libel or slander…and what Jesus said about them is true.
But, we should only say something BAD to or about someone if there is some GOOD to come out of it.
We should only say something bad to or about someone with an intention to help them and not hurt them.
It should be our intention for them, or those who hear it be better. It should be our intention, help them submit to God’s will, His word…His standards.
Jesus also proved you should never say anything about someone who you would not say to their face.
If Jesus had called them hypocrites to hurt or embarrass them, it would have been wrong.
If Jesus had called them hypocrites when they weren’t present to belittle them, it would have been wrong.
But, Jesus never sinned, so we know He wasn’t wrong. We know His intentions. But even when you have good intentions, it doesn’t mean that people won’t be insulted.
The same goes with us today. We should be willing to give and accept constructive criticism, so we can grow and mature in the LORD…that’s when an insult isn’t an insult.
We should pray the discernment to determine when to be loving and when to be sharp.
How many times have you sincerely told someone something to help them and they were insulted? When was the last time someone told you something to help you and it was insulting?
It doesn’t even have to be as sharp as calling them a hypocrite.
“You are unorganized”
“You are lazy”
“You are selfish”
“You’re too promiscuous”
“You’re too loud”
“You’re too insensitive”
“You’re too sensitive”
“You don’t listen”
“You’re too wasteful”
“You’re a bully”
“You’re too timid”
“You are a coward”
You are intimidating”
And the list goes on and on.
Has anyone said any of the statements to you before? Have you ever said any of them to anyone?
It’s WHY it was said that determines whether or not is an insult.
Now, most people who are confronted with something that needs to change about themselves will initially be insulted. But, much of our growth comes from that uncomfortable moment of truth and self-examination.
When Jesus called the religious leaders hypocrites, it was His intention for them to acknowledge it, repent and grow.
So the next time that someone, ‘insults’ you, even if they meant to hurt you, ask yourself, “Is this true about me”?
Even if they meant to insult you, if it’s true, you can take what was meant for evil and turn it into good. You can turn what could have been bad fruit into good fruit.
Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.