We've wrapped up the summer at Ridgeview with a brief series on Truth. The worship gatherings and the message preparation have had me thinking about truth a great deal. Something "interesting" struck me this morning as I was meditating on this verse: Sanctify them by the truth... John 17:17 NIV
What did Jesus mean when he prayed that prayer on our behalf? What does it mean for you and I to be the recipients of that kind of "truth?"
Consider your relationships. Some are superficial. They are relationships of convenience (your barber or grocer). Some are relationships based on proximity (your neighbor or the worker who shares the next cubicle). Some are based on shared experiences (parents from your kids' schools or the teammate on your softball team from work). Then there are the deeper relationships. They may start out in one of the other categories above and "mature" into something more. Bottom line is, these are the life-altering relationships. These people, whoever they are, take you deeper, make you stronger, teach you about yourself and have a mostly positive impact on you. Why is that? Well, there's a lot of reasons but one of the biggest is this...truth. In relationships that are of the greatest significance, there is room for the giving and receiving of truth.
"Honey, how do you feel about this?"
"Listen man, I need your honest opinion..."
"Buddy, I've been thinking a long time about your situation and the truth is..."
Truth hurts. Truth hurts because truth changes. And truth spoken in love makes us better. The friend who is willing to look you in the eye and tell you the whole truth changes you. The spouse who refuses to keep silent when words should be spoken in your best interest is the kind of relationship you and I both need whether we like it or not. Here's where the verse comes in.
You and I are made better--more specifically we are made to be more like Christ (sanctified)--because of God's willingness to be honest with us. Unlike a husband afraid to tell the truth about his wife's weight or an employee afraid to share his honest opinion about his boss' work, God speaks complete truth to us. He shows us our sin. He acknowledges our faults. He tells of our desperate need for Him and His undying love for us. Why? Because God knows something critically important about truth. His truth changes us in ways we never knew we needed, ways we couldn't comprehend on our own. Truth saves...always. And God's truth is the best kind. The only question that remains: will we seek it? Or will you and I prefer to hear the voices of "reason" in our culture that say "ignore the truth, I've got something more pleasant for you to hear." It's wonderful, it's amazing, it's comforting. Only problem is...it's a lie and it leaves us just like we were. And that's the truth.