Word-y Gifts for Christian Faith & Life

Can you handle the truth?

One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is Jesus’ assertion that the “truth will set you free” (John 8:32). In that passage, he also made clear that the truth must first be known and acknowledged before it can do the work of liberating, putting his finger on a significant human challenge. Though his words were spoken in the discipleship context, the principle can be applied broadly.

We tend to wrestle with the truth because it is demanding, unyielding and decidedly powerful. It creates discomfort and fear because it exposes us and often requires that we confront and resolve difficult, even painful, realities. Because the truth requires something, many of us resist it. We rationalize that it does not exist and if it does, it is neither stable nor ascertainable, so the most we can hope for are shades of it, painted in the hues of our experiences and biases. Other times, we decide that to protect our interests, the best course is to ignore inconvenient truths. These rationalizations, with their veneer of intellectual sophistication, give us enough room to wiggle our way out of the responsibilities imposed by the truth we know, and they have the pernicious effect of introducing confusion where it should not exist.

The truth may not always be obvious, but, according to Jesus, it is available to those who desire and seek it. To experience the liberty it offers, we must go a step further and have the courage to act on it. The alternative is to live in a self-imposed prison.

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