Prophets did not just exist in biblical times. They are here today as much as ever. But prophets are rarely listened to. They’re more often disdained, stopped, silenced, even hated for the truth they speak. They’re told they’re disrespectful and disloyal, yet they courageously cannot be stopped from saying what God lays on their hearts.
They speak truth in the public square, and they utter truth in the private courts of influencers and power brokers—advisers whether they’re valued for those roles or not.
Jesus decried the Pharisees and the scribes publicly, and Nathan rebuked David in private, and these are examples of abuses that went both ways. The religious elite abused Christ with capital punishment, yet David was so convicted of Nathan’s rebuke he famously repented.
The power brokers so often loath the prophets for the inconvenient truths they speak. How often do they listen? I don’t know of many situations they do.
We need more accounts of where a person or people take to courage and face someone in the wrong, where that wrong person does listen, and they do repent.
But those in love with their own power—the hero pastor, the autocratic leader, the tyrant in love with lies—will always justify their wrongs, entitled as they are to ‘rule’ as they alone see fit. Their massive personality and their crucial personal power wield influence over those who seek to keep the peace at all costs. The prophet and their truth don’t stand a chance so often.
What if the prophets were listened to? Wouldn’t truth hold sway more often? Wouldn’t truth be sovereign where instead one person’s warped viewpoint is the idol we revere?
Prophets cannot live without finding a way to communicate truth.
Here is the place truthtellers might be heralded as the prophets they are.
Prophets arise and take up the cudgel of courage instead of the curmudgeon of convenience.
Don’t let your heart be compromised by the concession of cowardice.
Prophets, and I know this well, don’t faint for the task God is calling you to do because you’ve been DARVOed—because the person or persons you’ve called out have Denied your claim, only to Attack you, and Reversed Victim and Offender through gaslighting mainly. Prophets, you know this all too well.
One of these days we’ll all give an account of what we did and did not do, and the consequences of that reckoning will be vast. Truth counts infinitely. When all’s said and done, it’s all that matters. Nothing that can be seen or known will be hidden anymore. Justice will be swift. The only defense is to be a truth-teller and a truth-abider.
There’s nothing wrong with getting it wrong, for in getting it wrong we have opportunities while we’re alive to make things right.
A call to all: thank a prophet in your life for the sacrifices they make for their stands for truth.
I’m thankful for this one thing: better to live in 2021 with a better appetite for truth than in 2011 when prophets stood less of a chance than they do today.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework