“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:25).
There is definitely some truth in the old saying, “The truth hurts.” We can all empathize with those moments when a truth becomes so obvious that it makes our stomach drop as if we were plummeting down a hill on a roller coaster. There are those moments when someone points out a character flaw that you were blind to, or those times when it becomes glaringly obvious that you made a mistake and you owe someone an apology. Personally, my least favorite “truth moments” are those times when I have been holding firmly to an argument only to realize that I was completely wrong.
Yes the truth hurts, but, more importantly, the truth heals. In all of the situations I just mentioned above, is the truth not the ideal answer? Even though it means that someone might be wrong or someone needs to apologize, isn’t it better than the alternative of living out the pain and destruction of a lie? I for one do not always react favorably when someone points out a truth in my life, but I always end up being grateful for it. The permanent pain of living a lie is far worse than the temporary pain of facing a truth. The truth heals, and pain almost always accompanies healing.
My grandmother was one of the most loved and respected people I ever knew, but she was not shy about pointing out the truth. I would often go to her for advice when I had a conflict with a friend or loved one. Every time I went to my grandmother’s house I was hoping she would tell me how right I was and how wrong the other person was. I do not recall one time where she did that. In fact, it was the opposite. She would often provide no response to my attempts to vilify the other person, and she would spend most of her time trying to open my eyes to where I may have been wrong.
I remember often getting frustrated with my grandmother during these conversations. On the outside, I would respectfully nod my head and try to listen. On the inside, I remember thinking, “How does she not see that I am right and they are wrong!?” I would often leave her home disappointed that I did not get what I wanted, but the truth of her words would always sink in eventually. Whether it was an hour or a week after I walked out the door, I would heed her words. I would go apologize to the other person and/or forgive them, which often led to reconciliation and a greater peace in my life.
I would go to her house looking for an affirmation of MY TRUTH, not seeking out THE TRUTH. Luckily for me, my grandmother was willing to risk a little pain and discomfort by telling me the truth, because she knew that the truth would heal me. It is so easy to take the same approach with God. We can read the bible and skip over the parts we don’t like, or go to church on Sundays and only receive the words from the preacher that we are comfortable with. We may not say it, but we think things like, “God’s favor and blessings sound great, but that whole thing about picking up my cross to follow Him sounds painful.” We can try to affirm OUR TRUTH rather than seeking out THE TRUTH, and the word says that “THE TRUTH shall set you free” (John 8:32).
Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. Only He can convict us of our sin, while at the same time offering us love, forgiveness and grace to cover it. One encounter with Him can bring us to our knees in shame and also leave us completely full of joy. Jesus loved us too much not to convict us our sin, but He also loved us too much to let us suffer in our sin. What truth are you exchanging for a lie, because the truth seems too painful to face? What is the Holy Spirit convicting you of that you’re pretending not to hear? Be courageous! Step into that truth, and let the healing take place!