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A Saving Rebuke

One time, twenty or so years ago, I was in Japan on a speaking tour with a close personal friend. He was a number of years older than I was. As we walked down the street in Yokohama, Japan, the name of a common friend came up, and I said something unkind about that person. It was sarcastic. It was cynical. It was a put-down. My older friend stopped, turned, and faced me until his face was right in front of mine. With deep, slow words he said, "Gordon, a man who says he loves God would not say a thing like that about a friend."

He could have put a knife into my ribs, and the pain would not have been any less. He did what a prophet does. But you know something? There have been ten thousand times in the last twenty years that I have been saved from making a jerk of myself. When I've been tempted to say something unkind about a brother or sister, I hear my friend's voice say, "Gordon, a man who says he loves God would not speak in such a way about a friend."

Prophets do that. They remind us of the truth and where we are falling short. If you avoid prophets—and a lot of people do—you do so at the peril of your spiritual journey. You and I need prophets.

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