"Truth, by definition, divides."
This was a quote by the great Francis Schaeffer. The point Schaeffer was trying to get across was that truth is not neutral. It divides what is true from what is false, what is right from wrong, what is orthodoxy from heresy. Truth divides.
John chapter 9 is a familiar narrative in the Gospels. In this portion of Scripture, Jesus heals a man who had been blind from birth. After Jesus healed him, the Pharisees brought the man in to interrogate him. They wanted to find out what person had sinned by healing on the Sabbath. The first conversation (v. 13-17) doesn't go very far. The blind man retells his account of what happened, but the Pharisees aren't convinced. Furthermore, they aren't willing to be convinced. So much so that they ask to talk to the man's parents to see if the man was actually born blind and if they know who had healed this man on the Sabbath. Not pleased with the answer (or lack thereof) of the man's parents, they have a third conversation with the formerly blind man. The conversation doesn't go well. The Pharisees end it by claiming that the man was "born in utter sin..." and they cast him out.
What is interesting to me is that the Pharisees were never asking the formerly blind beggar questions about how he was healed so that they could know the truth. Instead, they were asking him questions about how he was healed so that they could disprove what is true (that Jesus is the Messiah). This is the very point Schaeffer was attempting to make. See, there are two groups of people in the world. Those who hear the truth and respond in obedience and faith, and those who hear truth and respond by hardening their hearts. There is a lesson to be learned in all of this:
The one thing truth can't do is nothing. It will either hardened your heart or break your heart.
The Pharisees knew the Law front and back. Yet, they were hard-hearted people who lacked grace for the undeserving. So much so that when a blind man is healed not one Pharisee is recorded to rejoice in the miracle. On the other hand, the blind man knew nothing of Jesus. Yet, when Jesus confronts this man and asks if he believes that He is the Son of God, the man affirms and worships Him (v. 38). So, what does all of this mean? It means this:
At church you will find some of the kindest, most joyful people under the influence of the Bible. And yet, at church you will find some of the most bitter, self-righteous people under the influence of the Bible.
So, what makes the difference between the two groups? The response to truth. When you hear truth, you will either walk away with a heart broken and contrite, which leads to repentance or you will walk away hard-hearted, which leads to joyless, self-righteous living. Friends, let's be people who respond to truth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, with brokenness and repentance, not indifference and apathy.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.