Knowing and following the truth of God is a great gift and blessing! But sometimes the responsibility of sharing God’s truth can be a burden—and a painful and dangerous one at that. Why?
In the legal field, the prosecutor carries the burden of proof—“the duty of proving a disputed assertion or charge” (Merriam-Webster.com).
In the Bible, God’s prophets often were asked to proclaim “the burden against Babylon” (Isaiah 13:1) or other nations that had provoked God by their sins. Such prophecies of doom are even called “the burden of the word of the LORD” (Zechariah 12:1; Malachi 1:1).
Why is God’s message and His truth sometimes called a burden?
What the truth is not
To understand, first we have to look at what the truth is not—and what it is. According to the Bible:
- The truth is not widely believed.
Isaiah lamented that truth has “fallen in the street” and “fails” (Isaiah 59:14-15). Satan “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). People in the end time will “believe the lie” and “not receive the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).
- The truth is not popular.
Satan has been able to work lies and deceit into every aspect of society, to the point that truth is not recognized by the vast majority. In fact, the truth of the Bible is often seen as oppressive and outmoded.
We naturally want to hear and believe what we already agree with and what seems right to us. We seek things that are easy to believe and titillating to the senses. God’s prophets were asked to change their message to instead say “smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10). Paul noted a human tendency he called “itching ears” that leads people to “turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
- The truth is not decided by democratic vote or academic scholarship.
No matter how many people or even scholars try to turn a lie into truth, it can’t be done. The Creator God is the author of truth, and He reveals it to us in the Bible.
The truth is…
The psalmist noted, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160), and Jesus echoed, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). The Bible is often maligned and attacked today, but you can prove that it is true and the foundation of all truth. As a start, see our booklet Is the Bible True?
God is love, so His truth is based on and intimately tied to that love (1 John 4:16; 2 John 1:3). Truth is also closely associated with God’s mercy, goodness, kindness, peace, grace, sincerity and faithfulness.
In a world of anxiety, turmoil and falsehood, Paul encourages us to focus on the things that are true:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
The truth isn’t pretty—it’s beautiful! The truth about the corruption of this present evil world deceived by Satan is brutal and ugly. But the reality is, a world of complete peace and beauty is coming in the future when Jesus Christ returns.
What the truth does
God’s truth is a gift with eternal benefits. Here are a few of the many blessings God gives through His truth:
- “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
- “Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11).
- “His truth shall be your shield” (Psalm 91:4).
- God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
- “The truth … abides in us and will be with us forever” (2 John 1:2).
There’s bad news and good news
The prophetic message Jesus brought was definitely good news—that’s what gospel means. Jesus Christ is coming back and will set up the peaceful, blessed, happy Kingdom of God over the earth. (Study more about this in our article “Best News Ever.”)
But there’s also bad news, and that’s the part that can feel like a burden. Before Jesus Christ returns and saves humanity from self-destruction, God’s plan is to warn people of what they are doing to themselves. This is part of the preparation needed for the time when each person will finally face the truth.
Those who understand and believe the truth now are given the responsibility of sharing the truth.Those who understand and believe the truth now are given the responsibility of sharing the truth. The truth brings a burden of accountability to represent it well and to share it when asked. Sometimes the burden is heavy, and sometimes it is just a regular, everyday task of life. The Church as a whole is given the mission to work together to make the truth freely available. We don’t seek to force it on anyone, but we must be zealous to present the truth accurately and persuasively.
Some will accept it now; others, in the future.
When the time is right, Jesus will return as He promised. God’s words, which Ezekiel prophesied more than 60 times, will come true then: “You shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 6:7; see “Ezekiel: Exploring His Emphasis for Today”). Sadly, it seems it will take a lot of sorrow and suffering before many people will be ready to listen.
The job of warning and watching has never been easy. Jeremiah shed many tears for his wayward people. Ezekiel had to have a forehead “harder than flint” to deal with his rebellious, hard-hearted and hard-headed people (Ezekiel 3:7-9). Other prophets gave the ultimate sacrifice. God’s message was a heavy burden to them.
But most of us have not been called to carry that type of burden. And even more important, we don’t have to carry any of our burdens alone. God never gives us more than we can bear, and He is there to help.
His burden is light
Thankfully, God offers: “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).
And as Jesus said in one of the most encouraging passages in the Bible:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
In the end, truth wins. For eternity, truth will be a joy and a blessing—not a burden.
For related study, see: