They said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4
Most of us spend our lives trying to project an image of beauty and competence.
Certainly, we want others to think highly of us, but one of the things I respect most about people is their ruthless honesty—about themselves and their situations.
Nehemiah had a plum job.
He was working closely with the king, and he lived a life of luxury.
His heart, though, beat in unison with God’s heart.
He cared about the things God cares about, and when he heard that the people in Jerusalem were suffering, his heart broke.
He didn’t minimize the problem, and he didn’t fly into a panic of mindless activity.
Instead, he let the brutal truth sink in, and he responded appropriately: He sat down and wept.
Nehemiah had a courageous conversation with the messenger, then he had a courageous conversation with God.
Only courageous people are known for their honesty.
It’s a lot easier to look the other way when we see needs in our lives or in the lives of people around us.
We can give the excuse that we’ve tried as hard as we can or that we don’t have time to help a person in need.
But excuses don’t cut it.
Like Nehemiah, we need to let the truth sink into our hearts so we can respond with genuine compassion.
This is just the first part of Nehemiah’s story.
He then took bold action to gather resources, inspire the people, and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Successful action, though, starts with ruthless honesty about the need.
What are some needs in your own life and in the lives of those around you?
How would being honest about those needs become a springboard for change?
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth. But most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” Winston Churchill
From The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar by Zig Ziglar and Dwight “Ike” Reighard