Caleb Baker – Young Adults Pastor
You don’t want the truth.
Well sometimes… you don’t want the truth. It really depends on what you’re asking. I think that it really breaks into two different categories for us: when it comes down to our safety… we want the truth. When it comes to what we want to do or what feels good to us… we don’t always want the truth.
If you were driving down the road and you entered into an area with potential rock-slides or a turn that you needed to slow down a lot for, you wouldn’t want that sign to lie to you; you would want the truth, so that you could be safe. You wouldn’t want the sign to water down the truth or beat around the bush. A “Turn Ahead: Go However Fast You Want” sign isn’t helpful at all and it would probably lead to a lot of angry people who came in going way too fast to a specific turn.
If you were at the dentist and you had cavities in between some of your teeth, you wouldn’t want the dentist to take very much liberty in what he/she told you. “You know… everything looks pretty good. Just keep it up with that no flossing and a bag of Twizzlers every day.” You want the truth at the dentist’s office, because you don’t want your teeth rotting out of your head.
So, why do we get mad at Jesus when his words interfere with our lives? When we have a parent or a coach or a boss or a mentor speak hard truth into our lives, why do we resort to making up excuses and assuming they “don’t get it” or whatever line we’re accustomed to using? I think it’s because we don’t always want the truth… when it interferes with what feels good to us. We want to make the rules on sex and marriage and when life starts and how to treat people that don’t look like us or think like us and how to spend our money and how to spend our Friday nights and how to use our words, etc. based on what we think fits best. We would never fire back a “You don’t understand!” to a dentist after a diagnosis because we want the truth when it comes to our safety. On the other hand, we’re quick to disagree with a truth that may invade our personal preferences and rhythms.
What happens when what feels good to us collides with our safety? Do we want the truth then? Is it wise to lie to a 6-year-old about why it’s really okay and perfectly acceptable to sprint through a busy street? Is it wise to lie to a child when they’re going toward an outlet with a fork? I think a good deal of following Jesus boils down to one question… what happens when what I want doesn’t line up with what is best for me? Which one do I submit to? Your faith journey will be directly related to your ability to sacrifice your impulses for the truth that is eternal and concrete.
Most of us know the truth, for the most part. We spend a lot of time in Bible studies and listening to sermons and podcasts and whatever we can that further explains the truth… but we have a pretty good idea of it, generally. The real question is… do you even really want to hear the truth? Even if it hurts? Even if that means you have to change things?
Jesus puts this simply in John 8:31b-32 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The truth provides a seatbelt, not handcuffs. Jesus doesn’t provide truth to hold you back, he provides truth to set you free. Before we dive into the complexities and nuances of what’s true and what isn’t at every different theological level, you have to ask yourself… do you even really want the truth?