Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught a vessel off a rocky coast and threatened to drive it and its passengers to destruction. In the midst of the terror, one daring man, contrary to orders, went to the deck, made a dangerous passage to the pilot house and saw the steer-man, at his post holding the wheel unwavering, and inch by inch, turning the ship out, once more, to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. Then, the daring passenger went below and gave out a note of cheer: "I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well." (Source: Robert Louis Stevenson.)
This one man needed to know the truth. He knew how dire things seemed. So, he went to see the one who had more experience…one who had more control over things…one who undoubtedly had seen this situation before…he went to the steer-man. He needed to know firsthand information. When he saw the steer-man, that’s all he needed to know! He was comforted – and he was able to comfort others. To truly comfort, we must know the truth, live the truth, AND speak the truth!
Sometimes, no matter how much truth we have in front of us, we reject it and insist on embracing our own opinion. For example:
Many hear of God’s saving grace…they hear of the One who is truth, but they reject it and insist on embracing their works to save them from the lake of fire…(John 5:24; Acts 4:12)
Some refuse to believe the truthful words of another man because they have chosen to listen to the lies that others whisper about him in the dark… (Eph. 4:25)
Some refuse to believe the truth because they insist on rehearsing how they perceive things might be and miss how they really are…yet, this continued rehearsing of lies eventually enables the lie to become truth in their mind (purely because of repetition)…after this, they will often call the one declaring the truth, the liar! They become convinced they now have the truth. They have lost track of what was truth and what was their own imagining. This is dangerous! (Prov. 23:7; Phil. 4:8)
Some refuse to believe truth because they are controlled by fear and embrace anxiety. They choose to believe the worst about people and about situations. (Phil. 4:6-7)
We do know that the apostles were all AFRAID. We know they DID NOT TRUST Saul (Acts 9:27). We also know they KNEW AND TRUSTED BARNABAS.
Even spiritual leaders need to be COMFORTED sometimes!! This comfort will come from one they know…a co-laborer in Christ. This comfort will come from one who has personal experience with Saul.
Through the years, our girls have had boys giving them attention. They believed the attention to be purely as a friend, and although I believe that is possible, it was clear that this attention was MORE THAN A FRIEND. In conversation with our girls, at first they sometimes would have a hard time believing that truth. I would eventually say, sweetheart, I am telling you this as your Dad…but also as a man…that is NOT “just friends” attention.
Barnabas now comes to the apostles to help them find healing after this massive conflict involving persecution. He is basically saying, I come to you as a co-laborer…but, I also come as one who has spent a lot of time with Saul…he has become a new creature!
REVIEW from two previous posts - the First 2 Keys to Find Healing after Conflict:
Fear must look right (Fear God) – “all afraid of him & believed not”
Courage confronts Fear – “took him and brought him to the apostles”
The 3rd key to find healing after conflict…
Comfort Must Speak Truth
“…declared unto them how…” (Acts 9:27)
Barnabas went to the apostles and spoke to them truth. Resolution to this showdown did not come by catering to their feelings, their fear, or their lack of trust. Only hearing truth and choosing to believe truth would bring comfort to help heal this deep, long-standing conflict.
Truths must find their way to our speech. Truth must be voiced! God’s Word must be shared with others! That means declaring God’s saving grace…but it also means, voicing my love for my enemies and voicing my forgiveness towards those who wronged me!
Don’t speak “your truth” – speak “THE” truth!
Speak love for those who hurt you. (Matthew 5:44; Matthew 22:36-40)
Speak blessings for those who curse you. (Matthew 5:44)
Speak good to those who hate you. (Matthew 5:44)
Speak prayers for those who despitefully use you & persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
Speak of right priorities vs. wants and pleasures. (Colossians 3:1-2; Colossians 1:18)
Speak kindness & forgiveness to those who offended you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Speak encouragement to those who discourage you. (Ephesians 4:29)
What comfort is given because Barnabas speaks up?
1. Comfort for Saul (a friend spoke up for you)
2. Comfort for the apostles who all feared Saul
3. Comfort for Barnabas (James 4:17)
There is a man on TV who will give motivational speeches. He gives a lot of his human reasoning and says some “spiritual words.” He calls himself a preacher…and yet, he does not preach the truth of God’s Word! He, in turn, leads thousands of people to eternal judgment.
There are teachers in college classrooms today who have changed history to fit their philosophy and way of thinking…and they have brought confusion with lies to an entire generation.
There are politicians who will change what they say based on who is the president at that time…however, truth is replaced with agendas and reactions become violent. Yet, if all media and politicians would somehow declare truth … and the masses would embrace it as truth … comfort would come!
We can find people who are willing to speak flattery, but comfort is fleeting. We can find people who will speak intimidation, but comfort is absent. We can find people who will speak manipulation, but guilt replaces comfort.
We need to find people who will know truth, live truth, and speak truth…but we need to be a people who know, live, and speak truth to ourselves — and then to others. “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth.” (John 17:17).