Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
It’s a difficult time for truth.
At the end of 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary declared “post-truth” as the word of the year. The adjective is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” We also have “alternative facts” to deal with when the reported facts are deemed to be incorrect. And when the sources of our information are deeply ensconced in their own opinions, it’s almost impossible to sort out the objective truth. We have numerous versions of the truth but most of it appears to be opinion, and no one trusts sources that tell them something other than what they want to hear.
What does this mean for the gospel and for us as followers of Christ? Well, I think we need to be careful taking sides, especially if we want to speak to everyone. First and foremost, we are on the side of humanity because of what Christ did to reconcile everyone to God. There’s no one outside of that circle unless they put themselves there.
Second, creating our own version of the truth is nothing new. We all do this all the time. We do this when we talk about ourselves. We select versions of the truth that will put us in the best possible light. We “stretch” the truth. We are constantly deciding what to tell and what not to tell. Post-truth and alternative facts are nothing new to any of us.
If you have ever been to a Celebrate Recovery, A.A. or Al-Anon meeting, you know what it means to find out how the truth really does set you free. In such an environment the best foot forward is no longer necessary. Everyone has already claimed that life is unmanageable for them and they need help. That’s square one. The truth sets you free because you don’t have to hide. There’s nothing about you that God’s grace cannot cover.
The truth also sets you free because Jesus Christ is the truth. By opening ourselves up to Him, He sets us free because He accepts us totally and unconditionally. He knows us through and through and has adopted us into His family. He is also going to create a change in us that we could never do in and of ourselves.
For this, we will need to resist the spirit of the age and tell the truth about ourselves in all circumstances even when it hurts. If it hurts, it’s only for a minute, because God’s love meets has there and frees us from the lie.