Don't Remove The Rebuke


But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you." — Acts 24:22-25

So the Governor is not a stupid man. He knows this case has no merit. And now that the issue is reigned in, Felix indefinitely prolongs the case by suggesting to the Jewish leaders that he would wait to get a first-hand account from Lysias. But as we read on ahead, we discover that Lysias is never summoned or just never shows. In any event, Paul is kept under watch by the government, which does well to keep the Jewish leaders away from him. And we assume at some point the religious leaders and their lawyer went back to Jerusalem.

But since Felix is interested in Paul and his teaching, he and his wife spend some time learning more about Jesus from him. They are curious enough to meet, and Paul reasons with them about his faith. And I would assume this was probably a one-time meeting given what they discussed. Notice that Paul talks with them about three topics: righteousness, self-control, and judgment. Now, these are fascinating topics given that Druscilla's grandfather and uncle were both Herod's and very malicious and selfish men, and Felix was good at playing politics and was himself on his third marriage. This would infer that Paul was intentionally addressing matters of faith related to the context of their life. Paul, as always, does not hold back on speaking the truth just because they were a political power couple. I think it takes a brave and bold man of faith to do things like this. And notice the result of the conversation — "Felix was alarmed."

The truth does this. It alarms us. And sometimes, we are tempted to take the edge off the alarm of truth by softening it. We try to contextualize the truth in a way that removes the rebuke. But the rebuke of the truth might be the edge that produces change. Now, this doesn't mean we should be insensitive. But it also doesn't mean that we should be soft. I think Paul understands this. He knows he is a steward of the truth. He knows he might only have this one moment in time with them. He knows it's risky. He knows the truth has an edge. And he knows the most loving thing he can do with the truth, at this moment, with these people, is take the risk and let the truth do its work even if it leaves them a bit alarmed. And then he takes his hand off it and lets the truth do its job from there.

So how about you? How do you share the truth with others? Are you inclined to soften it? Or are you inclined to give it more edge than it needs?

Today try letting the truth have its own edge. Don't back down from speaking it. But don't speak it so harshly that you give it more bite than it already has. Just say it and let it do its work.

ASK THIS: Are you inclined to soften or give it more edge than it needs? (Confess it below.)

DO THIS: Trust God's truth. It belongs to him anyway.

PRAY THIS: God, may I speak the truth your way.

PLAY THIS: Casting Crowns - Voice Of Truth.


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9 thoughts on “Don’t Remove The Rebuke

  1. Jason B. Taylor says:

    Please pray for me today because I need to talk face to face with my work supervisor today about an important matter. I have some convictions to discuss because I feel alienated here at work even though I truly care for each co-worker and pray for them. I’m in tears as I think about it and the Holy Spirit pushes me to go ahead and speak courageously in truth.

  2. Dennis says:

    I have to admit, at times I do give the truth more edge thank it needs. I am learning in ministry that all I have to do is speak the truth and let it fall where it may. My only responsibility is to speak the truth, not enforce it.

  3. David J says:

    I need to speak to my daughter about a chore she faiIed to do and unfortunately I give truth more edge than it needs. I was praying this morning and asking God to help me speak to her in a calming way. I open Vince’s devotional and an answer to my prayer. Isn’t God amazing! Thank you God and thank you Vince. God help me to speak the truth your way.

  4. Cory B says:

    All too often I try to soften the blow of truth and it backfires. Sometimes when I hold back it eats me up inside and festers. Other times I am far too direct and mean spirited. I pray for discernment and wisdom the next time I need to give some harsh truth.

  5. Christopher says:

    Very well put today’s reading reminds me of the verse where Jesus says be wise like a serpent and soft like a dove

  6. Ted Bichsel says:

    I really like “ Truth has its own bite” Wow that really sobers me in preaching. Thanks Vince

  7. Trent says:

    Most times, not all but most, I do more than soften. I withdraw myself from people in general and take comfort in being by my self. No one listens to me. No one seems to care what I think or want or know. And life is just much more manageable and less frustrating if I am not around people. But I am afraid that is not the Christ following man’s calling and it definitely does not work being a dad. So I try to let my yes be yes and my no be no. Matter of fact. Speak truth. And try VERY HARD not to get angry and hurt and frustrated when no one listens. After all it took 40 some years for me to really listen and follow instruction from my Lord God so……

  8. Walter says:

    More often than not I will soften the truth. Probably too concerned about hurting others feelings.
    Need to work on this.