“Truth is free”. I have it tattooed on my wrist. Why there? Why a tattoo? Because I need a permanent reminder that I cannot earn what is true. I need to be reminded that the truth of Christ’s death for me is not because of anything I did. It is there, a fact I cannot change based on anything I do.
What about beyond that though?
What about truth in general? It’s this thing we all seem to be seeking. We’re told from a young age “always tell the truth”. Regardless moral convictions or spiritual path, everyone wants to know what is true. In all things whether mundane or life-altering. We want to find it. We want to hold onto it. We want to remember it. And we want to share it with the world.
That’s what we make it seem like at least.
But I think I forget – the truth is often uncomfortable. It can be hard. It can be messy. It can be painful. I say I want it, but do I really?
No. Not all the time.
The truth cannot always be controlled. And I want control. Instead, I lie. I lie to myself. I lie to others. I accept lies. I think many of us do this. I feel more comfortable living in lies than I do living in truth, in freedom. Freedom brings ambiguity. Where do you go with it? I want it so badly but it scares me so much. So I lie. I am free, I tell myself.
Don’t get me wrong sometimes truth is nothing but daisies and rainbows in which case I tend to willingly accept it. But sometimes, I feel more comfortable living in the world I’ve created. I’m fine. You’re fine. Everything is happy always. Nobody can hurt my feelings. I can’t say anything stupid to hurt yours. It’s all good. I don’t worry about how I look or what others think of me. I’m rubber, you’re glue…
This world is called denial.
I fear people knowing the truth about me. That I can be incredibly insecure. I can be harsh towards others (whether in my head or out loud). I am harsh towards myself. That I forget I am created to be loved. That I forget every other human is created to be loved. That I lose sight often of who I am in Christ. That I have a past so messy I never thought anyone would dare wade through those waters. And I didn’t think they should have to. I embrace the comfort of control over the joy of freedom.
I feel like my biological dad was a prime example of this. He had two worlds, both of them full of lies. They were strung together by intricate tales and lies. He was comfortable with the control he was allowed in his lies. He could have the perfect church-going all American family with his church leadership positions and Christian school board charimanship, while still having his world of affairs, addiction, and BDSM. I don’t know what kind of lies he told himself to rationalize the lies he told others. He needed his lies so badly he was willing to kill for them.
I think if he had embraced the truth though, my mother might still be alive.
I think telling the truth would have been hard. It would have been messy. It would have been painful. He would’ve suffered consequences. But we know the alternative. He wouldn’t be sitting in a prison cell. It was bound to be messy either way. There would have been less pain. The chain of events spurred on by telling the truth would have been so very different than those of a murder to conceal the lies.
Because either way, the truth comes out.
So I will try to embrace the discomfort of the truth. I will face it. I will probably still fear it. I will at times struggle to seek & share it. But the freedom it allows will be so sweet compared to the false & weighty comfort of lies.
Here is the truth:
“…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, ESV)
I don’t know much. I’m not in control. And that’s okay. All I really need to know is the truth of Christ’s love for me stands free. Not impacted by anything I say or do. And that’s enough for me.