That Was Harsh

Over recent weeks, we’ve been watching that social train wreck that is – American Idol. I’m not a fan of Simon Cowell. I think he is rude, insensitive, usually honest to a fault and sometimes brutally harsh. He even told one contestant that he was “funny looking.” But I do appreciate his candor. It seems the more clueless a person is, the more harsh is his critique.  It’s surprising that so many people want to be “the next American Idol.” It’s amazing that so many think they can sing when the clearly can’t. It’s more amazing that some of them get so angry when they are told the truth. It’s truly astounding that so many of their so-called friends encourage them to go before the entire nation and demonstrate their lack of talent. But beyond all that, it’s shocking that so many are so strongly deluded about their talent. Thus the need for a Simon Cowell. 

Maybe there are times when we simply don’t get it unless someone blasts through our delusions and preoccupations with sufficient force to get our attention. Jesus on several occasions was quite harsh with his closest friends. You’ll recall his response to Peter, “Get behind me Satan!” Very harsh. He made the comment, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” Pretty harsh. When James and John offered to call down fire on some Samaritans, Jesus rebuked them and said, “You don’t know what spirit you’re of.” This was kind of harsh too.  

This harshness is not meanness. It is not carelessness. If you walk with Christ long enough, he will hurt you, not because he takes joy in our pain, but because we grow through struggle.  We mature through hard lessons, painful experiences and even evil people. Rich Mullins said regarding Joseph and the struggles that he faced, “God did not give Joseph any special information about how to get from being the son of a nomad in Palestine to being Pharaoh’s right hand man in Egypt. What he did give Joseph was eleven jealous brothers, the attention of a very loose and vengeful woman, the ability to do the service of interpreting dreams and managing other peoples affairs, and the grace to do that faithfully wherever he was.”

Don’t resent the harshness that comes your way. If it’s truly rubbish, throw it out with no second thought. However, you should look to see if it is valid; listen to what is instructive and if it’s convicting – repent. Harshness will hurt your feelings. But don’t miss the value of a harsh but godly rebuke – even if it comes from a Simon. telemicus out

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