People like the truth. Well, that’s not quite right. I think that it’s more accurate to say that people like the idea of truth… as long as it is something that conforms to their expectations and wishes — which isn’t the truth at all. Bummer. Just think! Folks (generally speaking) want a person to speak the truth when it comes to his own shortcomings (such as a salesperson who tells a potential buyer of problems of consequence in a product) but not when it comes to anything that could be construed as criticism of the hearer — even if it is the truth… such as the fact of an obnoxious attitude that others find offensive (“You’re very rude sometimes.”) or an unhealthy habit that interferes with wholesome or healthy living like smoking or overeating (“I’m concerned about your eating all those deep-fried foods all day long”).
The truth, however, if handled lovingly can be like a light that promotes a cure to the ailments of the psyche and the afflictions of the soul. Don’t believe it? Who hasn’t heard that the first step for someone suffering from an addiction is to admit (tell the truth) that he has a problem? And how can one know the sweet release of forgiving another if she hasn’t admitted (told the truth) a hurt suffered at the hands of another?
Take this to the bank: Unless one is ready and willing to turn his eyes to the actual condition of his heart, mind, life, and situation, he cannot expect to be freed from the bonds of darkness. The shackles of denial, obstinacy, pride, selfishness, unforgiveness, and hate remain.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:5-9 ESV).
Living meaningfully and joyfully in the life to which Christ has called us requires that you and I be ready to not just “speak the truth” (quote Bible verses), but to live it. And we live it by bringing the light of God’s Word into the dark places of our hearts. We cannot know, for instance, cleansing power of His grace if we do not first concede that there is the filth of selfishness within us; we cannot see His holiness filling up the vessel of our hearts if we keep our eyes shut to the shadows of sin inside us; and we cannot be truly free unless we hold out the chains of our small-minded fears and resentments to Him for His truth to break them.
There are times when truth is wielded like a club to bring a sense of condemnation to another by someone who loves to puff himself up. “Truth” expressed this way is only a clever lie. But just because a truth is inconvenient or even painful, it must not be discarded as if it were unnecessary or unwanted. Yes, the truth hurts sometimes, but without it, we resign ourselves to appalling horrors on earth and eternal damnation afterwards.
Happily, the “Truth” has been given to us and if we are willing to embrace it, we have all of heaven to look forward to.
“Thomas said to Jesus, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him… If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 14:5-7, 8:31-32 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 22 ½ years. He is the author of “The Fairy Tale Parables,” “Crimson Harvest,” and “A Heart at Home with God.” He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).