“You will know the truth. And the truth will set you free.”
When I was in high school, I attended a bi-weekly great books program. It was slated for your final three years, and its focus shifted every year. It began with writers like the Inklings, and concluding with thinkers like Dante, Martin Luther and Athanasias.
At least once a month (probably more, but I can’t even give educated approximates at this point in my life… it has been 10 years, after all) the statement “Seek truth, goodness and beauty” was spoken over us as students.
It is a constant mantra for me, replaying in my mind daily, and it has spilled into my parenting.
It always seemed like common sense… as in, “Why wouldn’t I or anyone else pursue those things?”
But it’s not… And only until recently has that thought process been challenged.
Friends, we have lost our drive to pursue good things.
We have lost sight of our call to pursue truth.
What does Paul encourage?
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Why is this so hard for us to do?
Because it’s BORING.
How much more fun is it to whisper about what might be happening?
To talk about what you’ve heard?
Bad news is fun news… and it’s also far more comfortable to sit and not investigate what you hear.
Actually, comfortable is the wrong word.
How boring is it to take personal responsibility for what information you’re choosing to let into your life.
How easy is it to shrug off one side of the story because you have to go looking for it.
Friends, how different would our community look if we cared more about people than about the stories we hear about them?
Answer this: would you be willing to spend time with “heroic bible characters” in light of their everyday struggles… or even their occasional major screw ups?
My heart has been WRECKED lately by God pointing out the what if’s of the Bible.
For example: what if I had heard about Moses from someone in church? Good looking guy, but did you hear that he murdered someone a few years ago? Talk about a potential threat. Also, I heard he’s a bit of a coward when it comes to verbal confrontation. Maybe he shouldn’t be involved in our community.
Did you hear about Peter? Guy cannot shake this sailor mouth deal. I can’t believe he can’t figure it out… you think all that time rubbing shoulders with Jesus would have changed him. He must be doing something wrong. He can’t actually be a real follower of Jesus.
Did you hear about Noah? Dude Man saw God do the craziest things, and yet he still can’t shake being an alcoholic. We should “pray” for him.
Did you hear about David? Lazy idiot didn’t do his job and go to war… and then decided he was entitled enough to pressure a married woman to sleep with him because he was bored and horny… and got her pregnant… and then lied in an attempt to trick to her husband to cover up his mistake… and then MURDERED that husband because he wasn’t following along with the lie and took his widow as his own wife. Definitely can’t associate with him… if we do, we’re condoning what he’s doing.
And I can go on and on and on.
But do you notice a common theme?
These people who would make any good, bible believing, church going, Jesus follower squirm in their seat are the ones that God uses to tell His story.
Last time I checked, the straight A bible scholars who care so much about the rules are the ones that miss out… they’re so busy making sure they earn their salvation instead of being concerned with others.
The pharisees missed out. Last time I checked, they were the ones that were scolded for only seeing one side of the story.
Now, hear me: I am not under any circumstances saying that intentionally making mistakes and living in sin is okay. It’s not.
What I am saying is brokenness is a gift. Weakness is a gift. And the people who God chooses to use over and over and over again are the ones that are broken… that have heavy handed weaknesses… the ones that trip and fall all the time but all the more lift their hands up to be lifted back into the arms of their Father.
The unfortunate reality is that the intentionality in living in truth with one another has vanished because our blouses might get dirty from hugging the prodigal son when he returns.
Our reputation may be tarnished from kneeling down to grab the hand of the prostitute, who has done all she can to get near to the One who might just be able to make her see her true worth instead of those bills tucked into her bra from her last customer.
Our friendships might crumble because we choose to value people over the single sided story.
Our tendency is to shy away from those who seem to be wading through crap because crap stinks and stains.
But look down: you’re in it too.
Our tendency is to wade toward others who have the same sort of limps that we do… not always for the right reasons…. Sometimes it’s because they are much better at validating your hurt feelings over challenging you to walk in truth and love.
Check your hearts, friends.
I’m checking mine.
Speaking the truth in love doesn’t mean sugar coating it so that the truth feels good. Truth is hard and it hurts sometimes. And you can be offended by that truth, sure.
But truth is the only thing that transforms. It is the only thing that shores up your brokenness, and it’s the only way things are healed.
Remember this, God doesn’t hate much… but He hates lies.
“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Because He is truth. He is light. He is good.
Lies are literally the exact opposite of those things.
Seek truth, friends. Seek goodness and seek beauty. There, you will find Jesus, and all of the wisdom, peace and joy that help you wade through life well.