Nothing hurts quite like an “I told you so.”

It hurts because we were clearly warned about a danger and we chose to ignore the warning.

Why do we do that?

In my experience, it’s because…

(A) We couldn’t see the danger. Or… (B) We could see it but didn’t agree that it was at that dangerous.

And after the fact – after experiencing the danger first-hand – we not only see it, we’ve felt it. And we’re embarrassed that we didn’t listen.

Oftentimes we get angry at the person who has the gumption to actually say, “I told you so.”

In some instances we get angry because the “I told you so” person says it in a gloating way. But that’s not always the reason we get angry. Sometimes we get angry because of what the comment points out ABOUT US.

WE didn’t heed good advice. WE were offered help that we desperately needed and WE refused it.

And if the person is NOT gloating when they say, “I told you so,” we need to consider why they’d be willing to make such a galling comment.

They are trying to warn us of another danger – the danger of not learning from our own foolishness.

“NOW do you understand why I warned you? Will you learn from this? Will you humble yourself as a result and heed a loving warning next time?”

WARNINGS ARE GOOD THINGS. WARNINGS ARE LOVING THINGS.

Jesus loves us most of all when He speaks disquieting, eternally significant warnings like this…

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.《《

What’s He warning against?

  • Placing our trust in mouthing the right things when our behavior says something different.
  • Assuming that a “religious” background equals acceptance by God.
  • Making unfounded assumptions about our spiritual condition – for whatever reason.

Disquieting words like these make us squirm – and the temptation is to sluff them off with the quick assumption that we’re “OK.”

Just like we did when that person, from a heart of love, warned us about the danger ahead.

As uncomfortable as Jesus’ warning may be, He’s loving us by saying it. He’s warning us to resist that temptation toward self-justification because something far more important than the comfort of the moment is at stake.

He wants us to enter the kingdom of heaven. His kingdom.

MORE THAN THAT,

He wants us to enjoy the benefits of AUTHENTIC relationship with Him, one where actions (doing the will of His Father in heaven) flow from a heart that is TRULY in relationship with Jesus, the King.

Authentic relationship with Jesus is not about DOING stuff – that comes later. Authentic relationship with Jesus is like every other authentic relationship. It’s a heart-level connection where He knows us and we know Him. It’s where we heed His loving warnings about where we are headed on our own and actually listen. We turn. We take His advice and trust Him instead of our own religous or good efforts.

Then we experience the “I told you so” in a richer way, a satisfying way – because we’re able to clearly see the heartache we’ve avoided by trusting Him. We learn by way of His wisdom instead of continuing to learn the hard way.

And we know His love more deeply as a result.