Mark 10 contains a reminder that we sometimes need: God loves us, and because he loves us, he always tells us the truth–the truth about himself and the truth about ourselves.
Sometimes, the truth about our needs, our shortcomings, and our potential (potential that we’re not always living up to) is hard to hear. We might be tempted to buy into the mindset that if God loves me, he’ll never tell me something that’s hard for me to hear. He’ll never demand from me something which costs me a great deal. He’ll never hurt my feelings. He’ll never tell me I’m falling short.
If that’s the way I’ve chosen to think about God, I need to come face-to-face with Jesus in Mark 10.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22)
“Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” And because Jesus loved him, he told him the truth. Because Jesus loves you, he tells you the truth. In his word. Through his people. He tells us what we need to hear because he loves us.
Sometimes, the truth about what I’m lacking is disheartening. Sometimes, the truth humbles me in a painful way. Sometimes, the truth shines light in a dark place of my heart–a place that’s much more convenient and pleasant and self-gratifying to keep hidden. Sometimes, submitting to the truth will cost me a great deal. But Jesus tells me the truth–about himself and about myself–because he loves me. He expects me to learn the truth, know the truth, and walk in truth because the truth–and only the truth–can set me free (John 8:32).
The only question is, what will I do with the truth that I’ve been told because I’m loved?