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2 SAMUEL 12:1-14 Do you like other people to be honest with you?

Do you like others to tell the truth about you? Well, I guess none of us will say that we do not like to hear truths. I do believe that all of us, including me, really hate to be deceived, don’t we? Unfortunately, saying that we love the truth does not mean that we really love it. For example, you realize that you are not handsome or pretty. One time your friend comes to you and says, ‘Brother, or sister, you look very ugly le. No wonder if you have not got any boyfriend or girlfriend. I think you need to have plastic surgery.” What would your reaction be? Brothers and sisters, it is a fact that even though we say that we love truth, and we do want to love truth, we still have a tendency not to love it, especially the truth about ourselves. Somehow, whether we like it or not, we have to confess that sometimes we like to deceive ourselves. We only like to hear good things about ourselves. But we hate to hear and accept bad things about ourselves, even though those bad things are true, don’t we? In fact, we do have tendency to like hearing bad things about other people. It is much easier to see other’s mistakes and weaknesses than to spot ours. This also happens to David. After Nathan recounts the story of the rich man who oppresses the poor man, David is very angry. He even says that the rich man deserves to die! Exodus 22:1 actually provides a guideline to deal with this matter, "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” This crime is actually not that serious so that the criminal deserves to die! But yet David says that the man who did it deserves to die. I believe that David is sincerely angry because of what the rich man has done to the poor. Ironically, David is very angry with the rich man, whereas he himself has actually done a much more fatal crime. In other words, he is actually saying that he himself deserves to die! Isn’t it very ironic? Brothers and sisters, we share the same experience with David. It is indeed much easier to see others’ mistakes than to spot ours. Jesus reminds us in Matt 7:3-4, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?” Being a pastor, or preparing to become a future pastor, with all the high expectations from the people of God, I think we need to be aware of self-deceiving. What do I mean by this? We do realize that we and the people of God at large have certain criteria that a pastor should, or must meet. Realizing this, we might have difficulties to see “the true us”, “the true me”. We might be trapped to see ourselves as a mirror of what people expect us to be.

Just like David, I think when Nathan comes to him, he really sees himself highly, even though he has just committed a very serious sin. As a king, people expect David to be angry and condemn those who commit any crimes. And David does so. How do we see ourselves and our lives? Are we trapped in seeing ourselves as a mirror of what people expect us to be? If this happens, we will not be able to spot our weaknesses and sins. Do we dare to be honest with ourselves and to see ourselves just as we are, not based on others’ expectations or even our own expectations? We need to make every effort to be honest with ourselves. To see ourselves just as we are. I recall a friend of mine during my university time. He once said to me, “I do not have any mirrors in my room. I prefer to see my self to see myself in front of God’s Word to know how miserable I am, and how I need God.” He is a Charismatic. And for me, he is a bit extreme Charismatic brother. But yet, I do learn something from him. Sometimes we are too occupied with what can be seen by others, and so neglecting “the invisible us”, that is our heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Seeing ourselves just as we are is not the end. It is just the beginning. There is a popular saying: Be yourself! I think this saying is not Biblical at all. This saying does not encourage us to grow. This is not what I mean by saying that we need too see ourselves just as we are. The Bible encourages us to be like Christ, not to be ourselves! We should not be satisfied with our lives. We need to grow. Regarding and accepting ourselves just as we are is only the first step. So that we may be able to spot which areas of our lives in which we need to grow. May this prayer of David be our prayers as well: Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.