God bless my husband because he’s a real truth teller. I mean a real truth teller as in “Do these jeans make me look fat?” Yes, totally, they add about 30 pounds and I’m not even sure we can blame the jeans.
Most of the time at our house it’s not speaking truth that needs to happen, but rather speaking life. So we are sometimes out of balance at our house in a different way. Truth is good, truth is important, but if you aren’t careful you’re going to be simply naming everything unpleasant for what it is, in this constant verbal drip of negativity. Don’t forget to speak life once in a while.
However, God bless my hubby because he really gets it. He knows the toxicity of shameful secrets, of putting on masks, of pretending the giant pink elephant in the room, isn’t actually in the room. He’s all about identify it, name it, and speak it. I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing this is, what an encouragement he has been.
Speaking truth is like lancing an infection, it relieves pressure, it begins the healing process. It’s also very unpopular. Nothing gets you into trouble faster with people than being honest about how you feel and what you see. As a culture, we’re kind of allergic to speaking the truth. Just give me some fake news, confirm my biases, and sweep that truth under the sofa so nobody has to look at it. Let’s all just pretend.
When it comes to forgiveness, there’s a real danger lurking behind an unwillingness to speak the truth. Forgiveness without truth-telling is like putting a band-aid on top of a raging infection. It is not authentic healing, it is much closer to repression, suppression, and oppression. It is what I call swallowing bitter.
When should you just shut up and swallow bitter? When your complaints are about worship music, someone’s pink hair, or the fact that every other Christian in the world is doing it all wrong. I kid you not, just shut the heck up. You wouldn’t know a real problem if it came up and bit you in the behind.
Speaking the truth doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. You can’t just go in the closet and whisper the truth, it must be accompanied by someone else listening in love. Listening in love is absolutely critical and we in the Body of Christ don’t do nearly enough of it. Half the time all people need is to just be seen and heard by their brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord will do the rest if someone will just listen in love and acknowledge the truth being spoken.
I enjoy biblical times. Those people didn’t mess around. They matted their hair, tore their clothing, covered themselves in sack cloth and ashes and said, look at me, see me, hear me, I’m grieving, I’m lamenting. Those women who visit the wailing wall, are wailing. They are wailing their grief, anger, and frustration. One thing we learn from the bible, people are brave enough and bold enough to wail from the very depth of their soul.
Psalm 43:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
So when does the truth need to be spoken and listened to in love? When people need to speak the unspeakable. The truth about racism, about domestic violence, sexual abuse, addiction, child abuse, mental illness, homelessness, war, the myriad of epic ways the world violates us in horrific acts of injustice. Horrific and unspeakable ways.
Yeah, those who feel offended by sappy worship songs and somebody’s pink hair, need to stop navel gazing and nurturing their dainty sense of offense, and take a good look at the darkness of the world all around them, at the actual suffering of their brothers and sisters in Christ, many who have cried out for years, for decades, pleading to be heard.
Forgiveness is critical because it helps to set people free, but absolutely no one in the Body of Christ should have to face chronic and on going indifference. The opposite of love is not hatred, it is actually indifference. If we are indifferent to the suffering of those around us and unwilling to hear the truth spoken out loud, than the error is on our end, not theirs.
I struck out 9 times this week. Nine times I invited people to church and I heard the same thing, Church? I haven’t been to church in years. Church is the last place I’d go right now. Are they wrong? Not really. They see and hear Christian indifference and judgment every darn day they walk out in the world. They are speaking the truth and it is a truth that just breaks my heart. Church is the last place they’d go to find the Lord, and I really get that. Just the same, I do know of four churches nearby, every one that if nothing else, will provide rest for your soul, refuge from the world. Even if you think you don’t need the church, it’s quite possible they really need you…..
Shelogians is irritated with me. She says, “Have you read your blog lately, or……..are you unaware that you have made it your business to “tear down brothers and sisters”?
Well, perhaps that’s because I sure see a whole lot of Christians sitting up on their high horse completely disconnected from the world around them, wallowing in their privilege, bloody indifferent to the truth and reality of 90% of real people’s lives.
Maybe it’s because we’re supposed to be in the business of figuring out how to love one another. Maybe it’s because I hear the cries of the lost and broken every day. Maybe it’s because when people say, the last place I’d go looking for the Lord is in a church, something has gone all awry with “our” church.
And maybe, just maybe, as galling as it is to the pride I’m sure, but maybe I just happen to have a tiny bit of life wisdom myself, wisdom born of walking hand in hand with Jesus Christ.