Listening to the radio, I heard it again this past week while we were traveling back to Illinois. Over the years, I have heard it from radio preachers, from pastors whose churches I have visited, from conference speakers and it bugs me.
And it’s not just pastors. I have heard small group leaders say similar things. Over the years, I have heard it from small group participants who say it too, and it is like finger-nails on a black board to my ears.
A text will be read, a principle will be stated and then a teacher will say . . .
“I really like that.”
Frankly, I don’t care if you like it or not.
- I want to know what the Scripture says.
- I want to know what the Scripture means.
- I want to know whether the person teaching the truth is trafficking in the truth.
- Are they applying it themselves?
- I want to know whether the person exhorting me has exhorted himself first.
- I don’t care whether you like it or not but whether you embrace it or not.
- I don’t care if you personally like it.
- I want to know if you delight in it because God’s word says it.
I think when we use language like “I really like that” we encourage people to pick and choose the portion of Scripture they will apply in their lives rather than train them to delight in the truth of God’s word independent of their comfort level with the text under analysis.
If you want to tell me that you struggled with embracing the truth, or that you puzzled over understanding it, alright, fine, but don’t try to get me to believe, do, or embrace a truth because “you really like it.”
Tell me, “thus saith the Lord,” and call me to obey, delight and do the will of God.
Tell me what the text means and exhort me to obey it.
Tell me what the text means and show me how to apply it.
Tell me what the text implies and help me think through its implications for my life.
Tell me what believing the truth will do in my life.
Tell me how it will change my marriage or my parenting or help me to love my neighbor in a way that reflects the honor of God. But spare me personal feeling about a truth. I don’t need your personal feeling. But the word of God, clear, unadulterated, that’s what I need. I need to live by it because Jesus said, man does not live by bread alone but “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 in Matthew 4:4 and echoing Proverbs 30:5)
Whether I or you personally like it is immaterial.
End of rant.