We are called by Jesus to live in truth, the truth that Jesus revealed about God and the truth that the Spirit of God reveals about ourselves to each of us: “Whoever lives in the truth comes into the light.” No hiding, no defensiveness, no cloaking ourselves in fine dress to obscure the truth about us. We are to be open, revealing who we truly are, unafraid of the truth about what we have done or what was done to us. We are to bring our whole selves, warts and all, to God in love. We no longer live the hidden lives that the world seeks, but we live in the open, in the truth, in love. “And the truth will set you free.” And when we have accepted, embraced even, the truth about ourselves, when we have accepted God’s love for us no matter the truth about ourselves, we can then accept and embrace the truth about other people. In love.
So what is the truth about us human beings? We are not perfect, no matter how much we wish ourselves to be. And perfection in everything we do and say is not the goal. Even when Jesus says, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” the Greek word for perfect, teleios, means to be perfect in the sense of completeness, fulfilled, not that we are to be letter of the law people.
The goal is faithfulness, dedication to God, to the truth. So that we can live in the truth. The hardest thing for us humans is to accept that God loves us even in our imperfection. And often I think it takes an act of our own will to love ourselves, if only because God loves us and forgives us. Can’t we, too, with God’s help, love and forgive ourselves?
Living in the truth, without defensiveness, without covering up something about ourselves is a high standard, but definitely achievable if we will follow the Indwelling Spirit of God’s suggestions. He will lead us through the morass of our own feelings, guilt and shame into the truth and whatever we need to do about it. As we follow His lead, we will find that our defensiveness, the walls we have built to protect ourselves from the truth, the pain and suffering we have endured gradually diminish and lessen. We will feel the release of energy from no longer having to hide who we are and the freedom from no longer hiding what we feel guilt and shame about. We will see the fruit of the Spirit grow in us, as well—peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The first thing that God called me on was to really love my mother. This is what I heard in my thoughts: “How can I say I love God, if I can’t love my mother?” Mind you, that thought didn’t come from me! Since I was a teenager, I had been passive aggressive towards her, keeping her at arms’ length. This word from God began a two-year journey for me of trying to engage her as a person, unsuccessfully, I thought, until He settled the issue in a cloud of love surrounding us both on a railroad platform in Wilmington, Delaware. From then on, I could see her as a person who had loved me as best she could and I could love her, while she became grateful for everything I did for her—a whole new attitude of hers.
That was 35+ years ago. Lately God seems to be reaming out some deep feelings, early childhood feelings in me, some of which are also about my mother. Over the last four months I have cried many tears about stuff I can’t really name. The sense I have is that they come from two sources– deep childhood hurts and from my guilt in not working in this nation for the good of everyone, but accepting all that it means to be a white person and sitting on the sidelines of all the minority struggles, cheering, but not engaging for them. With them. As I wrote above, the Spirit of God will reveal all that comes between us and God, if we are open to hearing it and to releasing all that stands in between us and truth and between us and God—with God’s help. And each issue seems to have layers and layers that gradually become apparent over time.
Jesus says, “I tell you the truth” or “Truly” 30 times in Matthew, 13 in Mark, 10 in Luke. 24 in John—77 times he uses that phrase. And He wants us to live in the truth “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
This is not just a promise. It is our guide and our destiny to live out the truth about ourselves and about Jesus and God the Father. Until we can live the truth, in the truth, we are not really engaged with God with our whole selves. It is so worth it, because lies are burdensome and hide what is true about us; they use up our best creative energies. How can we fulfill our purpose when we are so beholden to the world and its lies and its priorities—which are not God’s for us?
So let’s live in the truth about God, about ourselves, about our nation and about others. Then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free! Amen!
Questions to ponder over the week: Have I acknowledged all that I am, all that I have said and done, all that was done to me, all my guilt and shame to God? If not, what am I holding back? What is making the log-jam that I won’t admit to myself or to God? Do I want to be free of all these burdens? Really free? Then what is my next step, what do I need to admit to God to start this ball rolling?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live in truth, the entire truth about ourselves. May we live in the truth of who God and Christ and the Holy Spirit are. May we live in love and truth always.
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I am collecting conversion stories. I am still not sure what the Lord’s intention is for collecting these, but if you would care to share yours, I would only use your initials to identify the author.
 John 3:21
 Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-37
 John 8:32
 Galatians 5:22-23
 Edward W. Goodrick & John R. Kohlenvurger III, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, 2nd Edition, P. 1179
 John 8:31-2