You’ve heard the expression, “The truth hurts.”
When someone begins a conversation with the words, “Can I be honest with you?” we don’t feel warm fuzzies. We know we are about to hear something that could cut into us like a knife.
It will hurt, and the hurt likely will linger, but the hurt from a truthful word might be exactly what we need. Proverbs 27:6 affirms, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.”
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In essence, Jesus is saying if you are willing to learn from him and accept the truth despite the wound that comes with it, you will know true freedom. If I were to add biblical synonyms of the word “freedom,” the most prominent would be peace and joy.
My observation is that most Christians are fugitives of truth about themselves and therefore experience peace and joy only as it relates to circumstances. What they lack is depth of knowledge (truth) about themselves.
They have a shallow understanding of the truth. They admit there are personal weaknesses that might occasionally cause them to miss the mark. But, all in all, they feel content with their progress as Christ followers.
The problem is we don’t have the capacity to see into the depths of our true selves. Friends might observe things we miss, but they are limited in their finite humanity just as we are. We need to be shown the deeper things of ourselves supernaturally through the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
Our responsibility in all of this is to show up. This can be a challenge for two reasons.
First, we don’t recognize our need and are content where we are. Sometimes this challenge is overcome by difficult circumstances beyond our own resources that cause us to recognize our need for one bigger than we are.
Second, we don’t know how to be still before the Lord and wait for his teaching. We are a culture that thrives on noise and activity; if we don’t have it, we become jittery like addicts needing a fix.
Practicing the spiritual disciplines of solitude, meditation and prayer are foreign to most of us. But when we move into those challenges, God will teach us truth.
When God teaches me the truth about myself, I am appalled and amazed. I am appalled at the man I truly am, and I am amazed at the man I am becoming by the power of God’s amazing grace.
I am convinced to my core: Apart from disciplining my life to be in his presence, God’s word and the insights of wise friends have little long-term impact on my life, and I miss the benefits of truth.
If times of quiet and solitude are difficult for you, discipline yourself to practice a few moments a day and increase the time each week — and enjoy the freedoms of his truth.
The Rev. Dan Houze is senior pastor of Columbus’ Terrace Lake Community Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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