Have you ever had those moments where you were you determined to do what you knew you shouldn’t do? It was clearly a bad choice, a stupid idea, a hurtful act but you did it anyway because you were determined to. We’ve all had those moments. Maybe you’ve made a life out of them.
The prophet Jeremiah described it this way: “All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!” (Jeremiah 8:6b NLT)
For me, it’s in those times where I walk away feeling absolutely horrid. Why would I allow myself to deliberately walk that way? I never think, “way to go Steve. Good job. You did it. You deliberately turned your back on your values – great job man” (maybe I say those things sarcastically).
Jeremiah wrote: I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”? No!” (Jeremiah 8:6a)
So what do you do after you’ve blown it, intentionally or unintentionally? Repent. It’s a religious sounding word, but it simply means to turn around. Make a different choice. Own up to it and live better. Say sorry to whomever you need to, a spouse, a friend, a coworker, your God, and move on (and get help from others).
Speaking Hard Truth Without Compromise
Jeremiah did not receive a pleasant message from God to deliver to his people. The Lord ordered him to declare judgment and destruction on Judah. God told the prophet that He was about to destroy a sinful generation, a group of stubborn men and women who had turned to the basest kind of idolatry.
The Lord had patiently borne with these people. For many years He had issued stern warnings about their sin—yet they refused to surrender to Him. They had grown so depraved and shameless that God told Jeremiah they could no longer even blush over their vile conduct (Jer. 8:12).
The truly godly leader takes no pleasure in announcing divine judgment. It is a grievous thing to have to announce that the time for retribution has come. God Himself grieves when His people’s sin sinks to the point of no return. On the other hand, a truly godly leader never shrinks from confronting sin or from declaring the message of God. Effective leaders faith- fully confront sin and call the sinner to repentance.
It could not have been easy for Jeremiah to communicate God’s words of judgment. Neither is it easy to communicate today with people who need to be confronted over their sin. But leadership means speaking all the truth—sometimes unpleasant and painful truth—that God has entrusted to us.