Rev. Dr. Steven Yagerman
Handle the Truth with Love
“Put away falsehood and speak honestly to each other.” With this admonition, St. Paul begins a series of admonitions on how members of the church should deal with each other. We immediately want to categorize this, along with much of scripture, as being idealistic to the point of being fantastic. Perhaps you might recall the movie, A Few Good Men, where Jack Nicholson’s character, Colonel Nathan Jessup screams, “You can’t handle the truth!” Or Jim Carrey in the comedy Liar Liar, where he was constitutionally unable to tell even the slightest untruth. Can we really handle the truth and can we put away all falsehood?
If we were to try to put away all falsehood, it seems to me that, we should start with ourselves. Jesus tells his followers that you must “Remove the log from your own eye before you can remove the speck out of your brother or sister’s eye.” This is a life-long process, which calls us to diligently examine who we are and how we operate in our relationships! Putting away all falsehood, helps us to see ourselves more honestly and also helps us see others more clearly. With this clarity, we feel peaceful and intuitively know how to respond to the real needs of others.
So much of what disturbs relationships are the filters and preconceptions our wounds and defenses place between us and others. People, created in the image of God, are seen as hostile threats to our existence or competitive obstacles that must be finessed or superseded. We begin to see their faults and flaws in direct proportion to our own faults and flaws.
When we put away all our falsehood, we stand before our creator without defense or excuse. We acknowledge what we have become and by God’s grace we accept the acceptance that God offers to us. It does little good for God to forgive us if we don’t appropriate that forgiveness and forgive ourselves.
When we put away all falsehood, we begin to see others differently. Instead of threats and competitors, we see others who are also struggling with how to be fully human in a culture that so insistently works to dehumanize us.
When we put away all falsehood, we find that we have honest words of kindness that hit the mark for others and invites them to partake in the grace that is available to all.
Lent is the church’s season for self examination, but in reality we are always called upon to put away all that is false, all that is for show, all that is not sincere and to find that still small voice of God that whispers in our ear, “You are my beloved, in you I am well pleased” As believers, we are called upon to handle the truth, with love!