Galatians 4:15-16 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Okay Paul, now this is just weird. I have pulled out some weird sermon illustrations on the fly, but this one is just plain bizarre. Torn out your eyes? Really? Couldn’t he have just said something more normal like, “you would have given me the shirt off your back” or something like that? Someone should have let him know that once eyes are torn out of one’s head, that they don’t really work that well. And what kind of apostle would even ask that? “Okay, if you really trust me, give me your eye.” Ewww.
As gross as this all sounds, Paul was trying to make the point that when he first came to them, they absolutely loved him. They would have done anything for him. (Maybe they should have sung the Meatloaf song, I’d do anything for love, but I won’t do that.) Paul thinks that if he would have asked them to cut off an arm or pluck out an eyeball, they would’ve been okay with it. They really liked him. He was a hero. Not anymore, I guess. Now that Paul was confronting them on some sin issues, they weren’t really feeling it anymore. Now that he was presenting them with truth that they didn’t want to hear, their eyeballs would be staying in their faces.
Do you have any relationships like this one? You may have a friend, a relative, a pastor who you love and trust. They are a great friend and you have given them permission to speak into your life. They encourage you and spur you on to be a better person. You really do love them and would do almost anything for them. But then one day, they tell you some truth that you don’t like too much. The truth hits you like correction. Their words intersect your choices or behavior in a way that says, “shape up friend.” And it doesn’t feel the same as the loving relationship that you have always had.
Here’s the thing, did you give them permission to speak into your life or not? When you gave them that place in your life, was it only so they could tell you all the good stuff? Was it simply to build you up or was it also to grow you up? Because we need both. We need to be able to receive correction and guidance as well as encouragement. So often though, when a friend tells us something hard, our response is: “I don’t like you anymore.” What we should realize is that if that person is coming to us in love, it was probably painful for them to do. They don’t want to see us hurting, they just want to help. We desperately need those kind of people in our life, but I am afraid those are the very people we push away. Do you have any people in your life that are more than just cheerleaders? Because, whether we like it or not, we need ’em.