you can't handle the truth

I have always been impressed by the ability of others to make bold statements that sum up an appropriate tension. And even more so, when those statements are so filled with truth that they help you "feel and think" at the same time. For instance:
  • "The Church is a whore, but she is my mother." - Augustine

  • "Where you live should not determine whether you live or die." - Bono

  • "I had a professor one time... He said, 'Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his jackass, and He has been speaking through jackasses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway'."" - Rich Mullins
There are times when those thoughts need to creep up into you, like a whisper someone plants behind your brain when you aren't looking. Later you turn your head and your parietal lobe catches wind of it... and you are forever stunned and changed by it. It's something out of left field, and yet it isn't... its out of the box, and completely within your box.

"Wow," you say, "I had no clue, and they helped me see it."

And then there are moments when we need someone to pull us into the locker room, shut the door, and throw their clipboard or hat across the room at us. It's a bit edgier to be sure, evidenced by the sweat on their forehead and blood in their cheeks... and as they call us on the carpet for something we've been otherwise coy about, our heads droop... be it from conviction or self-examination.

"Wow," you say, "I had a clue, and they made me face it."

In both instances, you can't handle the truth.

Oh, you'll try... you'll put your fingers on it, but find that you can quite grasp it all because it's like trying to palm an over-sized medicine ball in one hand. The weight alone makes you want to drop it, not to mention the size and depth and width that you simply cannot contain.

It's one reason, by the way, that you need a community outside your own household to help you process the most important things in life. Say... a church?

So typically we'll take a portion of the truth presented - the piece that we were able to put our own fingerprints on - and walk away with only that piece. Some may defy this and attempt to take that piece and bring the whole ball with them later so that they can better digest it over time and study. But this is a rare breed, for the usual Joe or Jane will focus in on one thing, and one thing alone.

Sometimes that one thing is good - it's a thought or an "Aha!" idea that they walk away and do something. Other times, though, that one thing is merely a piece of truth that distracts from the others. Maybe it's a love or a hate for how the other person shared the thought... and so now the focus is less on the truth itself and more on the messenger of it.

I dare you to be the rare breed. While you can't handle the truth, you can *keep on* handling it... turning it... sizing it up... digesting it into your life.

And that journey alone will push you into new places of growth that you otherwise would have stopped off and settled for something lesser on.

Learn the truth, keep handling the truth, and the truth will set you free.
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32)

1 comment:

  1. The truth can't be handled all at once, and fortunately God allows us to digest it in bits... as one spiritual man that prayed with me and over my failing marriage said, it is like peeling back layers of an onion.. deeper and deeper we go, because we find some more "truth" to deal with.. but mostly for God to deal with us together on...

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