In the last two weeks, I have caught people in a lie. These people told me one story and then told a second person a completely different story. Now, I am not so naïve as to think these were the only lies that I heard, but these were the only ones I can prove. Whenever this happens, it breaks my heart. I wish those people would have come to me and just been honest.
One of my professors in college used to say that the reason we lie is that we do not think the other person can handle the truth correctly. At the very least they will not treat it the way we would want them too. After years of encounters like this, I am convinced he was correct.
The people who lied to me simply do not want to hurt my feelings. They don’t want to damage the fragile psyche of me as a pastor. I guess that the people who lie to you feel something similar. They do not want you to feel bad or get mad, so they avoid the truth. Thinking they are somehow protecting you from confrontation and pain.
Honestly, the truth is hard. It can be cold, painful and difficult to hear.
This is why the Bible refers to “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We balance the hard truth with soft love. In other words, I am saying this not to hurt you, but rather I want the best for you. I once heard it said this way, “The truth without love is too strong, and love without the truth is too weak.”
The interesting thing to me is the context of the statement in Ephesians. The verses that surround that statement are about all of us reaching spiritual maturity. The idea seems to be that when we do not speak the truth in love, there are issues in my life and yours that will not be addressed. Those attempts to protect me are stunting my growth. The damage is still done, it is just inside our souls where others can’t see.
One challenge in life is to not only speak the truth but also to hear the truth. Ask yourself, “Am I prepared today to both hear and speak the truth?” Have you surrounded yourself with people willing to both listen to the truth and speak it repeatedly?
Here is my guess if you haven’t said anything that is difficult to hear lately, then you are not speaking the truth. You are a liar. Also, if you have not heard anything that hurts to hear, then you have surrounded yourself with liars.
The truth is hard to come by these days, even so, followers of Jesus are people committed to the truth in love. I know I would like to hear it more, I bet you would too.