Have I ever felt the urge to “tell the truth”?
I would hear about something and suddenly reason some thoughts and allow those thoughts to convict me that my conclusion is and has to be the truth. The next step then becomes the urge to blurt out such “truth” as if I had to get something off my chest. This is culturally called “being honest.”
What’s the issue then with being honest? The issue is that other than matters concerning the gospel, we simply do not and cannot always know all the facts. Even if we were to know 99.99% of the fact, the .01% could be the key factor that changes our entire perspective on the facts. Therefore, the only things we can be honest about are our momentary thoughts, and they are never based on all the facts because we do not and can never know all the facts.
When Christ spoke the truth, the simple yet crucial knowledge of the love of God for us, no one could refute him. Nobody could stand him and said that he doesn’t know all the facts because even nature shares a glimpse of God’s care for us.The full display of such love came forth when Christ not only preached such love but also demonstrated such love by his death, his burial, his resurrection and his dwelling in our hearts by the manner of the Holy Spirit.
Some would argue that if God so loves us then how come we’re suffering. Well, if only they would hear themselves at what they said then they would realize that there’s nothing that they can complain about, nothing by which they can use to judge God other than His love for us.
For a moment, let’s talk about suffering. The word “suffer” is the same as “experience”. I suffer pain, I experience pain. And the pain is not just the physical but the mental. If you’ve just had surgery, and you were put on some medications to numb you from your pains, you would be thankful for those medications. But once those medications wear off, and that you start experiencing pain, the doctors in many cases after reviewing all their tests to make sure all your organs and nerves and blood vessels are showing good signs, they would likely credit your residual pains to the fact or possibility that the area that was operated upon is healing and may take years for a full recovery depending on the area that needed such healing. Therefore, sensory feeds without much understanding of the “what, how and why” are usually considered much more painful than those of which we understand or believe to understand.
Seeking to understand something that is beyond natural comprehension usually leave us physically weak if not ill. Anyone who has ever surprisingly encountered a stranger in the most unlikely places is usually left with a shock to all of their senses disabling them from even standing or speaking due to the proportion of absence of understanding of what is before them.
So what should be critical in our daily lives, to speak out whatever comes to mind and claim honesty as the motive or to seek all the facts and understanding of such facts before we reason out that whatever we’re saying is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Have you ever been so sure of a particular reasoning just to find it entirely extinguished by the revelation of new facts or newer understanding of old facts? The very thoughts or claims we wanted to make suddenly became irrelevant.
Therefore, if speaking our mind relieves us of some anxiety while it augments the anxiety of others, we’ve only done ourselves a favor at the cost of hurting others.
Verbal abuse is a reality promoted by every culture known on the face of the earth. Name calling, accusing, blaming, blocking, threatening, undermining, ordering, trivializing, discounting, countering, gossiping, diverting are all practices that we suffered while growing up and imposed onto others in “seeking to be honest” when we had never waited for all the facts.
A kid growing up showing typical behaviors for his age group is reasoned, defined and identified by an adult according to such behaviors. And the “honest” conclusion of the adult may be negative in saying “You’ll never accomplish anything in life” as if the adult knows the future or doesn’t even take into consideration that the child is simply growing up. The adult, an authoritative figure, may be a parent or guardian, a teacher, or even a manager later on in life.
Can honesty be the best policy when we don’t know or fully understand all the facts? When our words hurt rather than heal and that our thoughts cause us fear rather hope in the love of God, are they of any benefit even to our own selves?
So if God allows us to experience, to suffer so that we move from one stage of understanding to another, could we ever use such undertaking as the absence of his love for us? The one who decides our beginning and ending? What leverage could we ever possess against Him who knows our every thoughts and pains? The one who begins us and ends us as far as this life is concerned, what reasoning could we appropriate to judge his actions when even if we were to be presented with his entire agenda from beginning to end, we would fall asleep by the first couple of pages.
The one thing that always calms my mind when certain worries want to rush me to judgment is this:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)
My rushing to judgment never solves anything other than display my impatience and ignorance about the subject at hand. But my recalling and sharing of the truth, the whole truth of which God’s love is the object, never add to the anxiety of mankind but rescues them from their own limited reasoning which is mostly based on insufficient facts and understanding.
If you want to be honest with anyone, the truth, the gospel is the only thing worth sharing. The gospel doesn’t oppress us but it oppresses our doubts and fears. The gospel is not depressing to our mind but reassuring of the love of God for us. And as we treat and remember each other as one who is loved by God, then we find nothing else worthier of our honesty than that which rejoice our hearts and theirs. For whether it’s you or me or them, we are of one maker, one lover, one rescuer, one savior, one regenerator, God through Christ Jesus by His Spirit.
Being honest about our thoughts and opinions is not the same as telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Our highly-held opinions are always changing, but the truth never changes. What we understood the truth to be may have changed but the truth itself never changes. Hence, the reassuring words to the Hebrews: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
We find lasting joy only in the gospel and never in our ever-changing opinions. They may seem as clear as water, sound as beautiful as the singing of the birds, feel as soft as fur, and taste as sweet as honey. But if they are constantly changing, then they are far from the truth. And, the true “truth” sets free both the bearer and the hearers with time.
The complete truth heals. The whole truth does no name calling of others, no accusing of others, no blaming of others, no blocking of others, no threatening of others, no undermining, no ordering of others, no trivializing of others, no discounting of others, countering of others, no gossiping of others, no diverting of others because it reveals the love of God which bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Rejoice in the love for ourselves, the love for others, the love of God of which knowledge the gospel came to make us aware daily.
As blurry as our opinions may ever be, one thing that is to remain clearer than crystal in our minds and hearts is that God loves us from eternity and eternity and that we can only credit God who sent Christ Jesus to tell us such words and thus reconcile us with what He has always known about us from eternity to eternity, that we are loved by Him always and forever.
Rejoice, in Christ, daily to the glory of God, the full knowledge of who God is.