“Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.”
Herodias, the wife of King Herod, hated John the Baptist. But it wasn’t enough to hate him, she also wanted him imprisoned. But it wasn’t enough to have him imprisoned, she also wanted him dead. Ultimately, she used her husband, King Herod, to carry out her wicked plan.
One might think that John did something completely awful to have Herodias hate him so much. Hating someone to the point of ordering their execution certainly leaves one to ponder what he must have done. Lucky for us, today’s passage tells us why Herodias hated John so much-it was John who called out the sin of Herod and Herodias by telling them it was not lawful for Herod to have married Herodias, his brother’s wife.
Hating someone on account of the truth is a very real thing. Maybe you even have some hate in your heart right now for someone in your life who told you the truth about the sin you were engaged in. Or maybe you are like John the Baptist, having been called to tell the truth to someone who then has cut you off, unleashed a war against you, or has enlisted others to hate you too on account of their sin. In either scenario, the truth divides.
As children of God, we are called to speak the truth. We are called to speak out and not stay silent. The sin of omission is just as great as the sin of commission.
We cannot stand idly by while watching the destruction of souls
And God places us in different places and spaces to do this. You may be called to speak the truth to an old friend, or a boss, or to use your social media account for God’s glory. God will put you in these uncomfortable situations so that you can use your Holy Spirit-infused voice to preach the gospel. Our job is not to worry about where or how it lands. Our job is to worry about being the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.
But with the speaking of truth comes a cost. For John, it was his life. Maybe for us, it is the cost of a friendship, or a job, or something greater. For many Christians across the globe, like John, the truth cost them their lives.
John’s noble willingness to go into difficult spaces and not be afraid to tell the truth gives me the strength to know that I can do the same thing.
That I too have counted the cost, and know that I only want to live a truly authentic life in Christ. That I will never live anything less than that. That the gospel is worth losing everything to gain my soul.
Today, if you are in a situation where you may be afraid to stand up for truth, call on St. John the Baptist to help guide the way and give you the strength through our Lord to do what’s right. Be bold and know that you were called for such a time as this!