by Robert F. Turner
Paul had done some straight talking to the Galatian churches. He had said, "I am afraid of (for) you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain" (Galatians 4:11). Then, in Galatians 4:16, "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Paul knew how people often react when they are told something they do not want to hear. He had shared the guilt with Jewish brethren who made Stephen an enemy because he told them the truth.
Can there be any justification for such an attitude? Does it change the facts? Will it answer the argument? Has it strengthened the position of the angry one? Is it not, in fact, a childish response, made sinful by the accountability of those we assume to be adults? Is not the sin compounded when it is the action of one claiming to be a Christian?
"It is not true, it is not true," he shouts. Then why is he upset? Does he so react to every untruth he hears? If this is righteous indignation at error, will he sit down for a calm consideration of the matter? That is one's best opportunity to teach the truth.
But who are we fooling? Not even ourselves — for experience has taught us that people are cut to the heart when their conscience agrees with the thing taught. It is the conflict within ourselves that stirs our anger (a defense mechanism), and he who tells us the truth becomes our enemy because he has invaded our little fort. If we did not recognize it as the truth we would not feel insecure in our error.
And if this analysis is valid, the number of people who knowingly accept and practice error must be great. Do these people love God's truth? Can they claim to be searching for truth?
I do not mean to imply that my conclusions are the equivalent of God's truth. I only plead for a truth lover, truth seeker attitude, as we study God's word together.