Saturday, February 18, 2006

Truth Telling

I think that I (and I cannot say to what degree this may or may not be true for others) am still only slowly coming to understand how Jesus dealt lovingly with others - to nurture them toward God. I am convicned that I have not known how to be first loving, and only "right" within that framework.

Too often in the past I said what was "right" or "correct" on a matter, believing that being truthful in telling others what was right was to be loving. It makes good logic, but in practice I think it is actually self-satisfying. What I mean is that when I tell someone else truth to unburden myself, I am telling them out of self-love, not love for others.

Surely you know the same Bible stories that made me tend to do this - the lepers who had to tell everyone that the enemy army was gone. The watchman who isn't guilty of the people's blood as long as he sounds the alarm; if they don't listen, their blood is on their heads.

Many times I think I was like Pilate, washing my hands of other people's blood, by making sure I told them the truth. Now it was up to them - not me anymore. I was off the hook eternally.

Now when I look at the gospels - I just don't see Jesus telling others "truth" so he wouldn't be responsible. He seemed to say what they needed, not what "truth" demanded.

If you don't know what I mean by "truth" here . . . this is going to be long enough without explaining it completely. Maybe I can say simply, "truth" is something that I believe to be "right" but may have nothing to do with helping anyone. It's sterile, laboratory truth. It's truth about what is sin. That kind of statement.

Contrast this with Jesus talking to the woman caught in adultery. When he says "I don't condemn you . . . go and sin no more" he tells her three things, only one of which is new. She knew what she was doing was sin, and that she shouldn't do it anymore. It had been 1200 years since Moses received the ten commandments. She knew this.

What Jesus told her that was new was that he didn't condemn her. What if Christians stopped being those who tell everyone the "truth" of how what they are doing is wrong, and shared the truth of how Jesus (and his followers) are not in the condemning business?

We'll all be roundly labelled as soft on sin, of simply being pc, of being tolerant and reflective of a permissive age, and not believing in absolutes.

Oh, well.


Anonymous said...

Oh well indeed. I'm with you on this one Greg. Great post.
A. Hanson

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of these words to a song, "I can only imagine...".
What if: we only shared with others out of love and not to purge ourselves for self satisfaction?
we thought first about the person and not the "truth" that "must be shared"
We would indeed be labeled. But were labeled anyway, so I think I would rather have this label that the alternative.

Vicki Sullivan said... when he had to teach using parables like teaching little children. you're waking up.