Everyone Hates A Liar...
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." ~2 Corinthians 12:9
Everyone hates a liar, but no one wants to hear the truth. I think that's because most of the time we already know, we just can't bear the idea that someone else does too. And we certainly don't want that truth to be spoken out loud because once it has a voice it becomes tangible and subsequently harder to ignore. An even bigger issue is that my truth may not be your truth and maybe I just don't want you pushing your truth in my face. OK??? Alright, I jest, but behind the humor is a reality that keeps us all trapped in our metaphorical and literal darkness. What exactly is the truth and why are we so afraid of it?
For me, I choose to evaluate my truth through the lens of a biblical worldview. This means I try my best to navigate my head, heart and soul using the no nonsense, non-negotiable plumb line of Scripture. Psalm 119:105 reads, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." That's good enough for me. Sola Scriptura!! Now, we all live by and follow some sort of moral code and for some of us that moral code is founded on the cornerstone of our faith and for others it is a collective ideology based on historical facts and social constructs. The latter of two lacks substance particularly because the desire to fit in and live amicably in society tests the malleability of an individual's resolve in an ever changing cultural climate.
For all my non-believin' peeps out there, I need to be crystal clear that I am not claiming to be "holier than thou". I can not subscribe to any loftier perceptions of myself than my crimes would allow because Scripture also says, "for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".1 I also believe that dominant group dynamics are equally as enticing to the Christian as it is to everyone else and so I'm just trying to get by with a little help from my friends. That old adage is actually the root of our discussion and begs another question made famous by R & B group, TLC, "what about your friends?" See, your friends want to be your #1 fan, your ride or die, your partner in crime. Very few, however, want to be the kind of friend you need; the one who is going to call you out even at the risk of jeopardizing the friendship.
In the Christian world, this friend is more than just your greatest cheerleader; this friend knows your holiness is more important than your happiness. This friend is privy to your tendency to fall off track and is quick to reel you back in. This friend is relentless in helping in your pursuit of righteousness because this friend expects you would do the same. The truth hurts, but the repercussions of deliberate ignorance hurt harder and longer and just because God is willing to meet us where we're at doesn't mean He expects us to stay there. He gives us His word, the Holy Spirit and the right company to keep to assist us in becoming the best versions of ourselves that we can be.
Last month, I received a phone call from one of my homeless friends who is no longer homeless. He has moved away, sobered up, reconnected with family, and is working. We were chatting for a while when he stopped me and told me that hearing my voice reminds him that he still has work to do and he can't get comfortable again. I had to choke back tears as I remembered all the hard conversations and arguments we've had on the streets of Orlando as he was battling alcoholism. I remember the look of defeat on his face after he would lose yet another job because he would inevitably drink away his paycheck and miss work because he was passed out somewhere. He never ran from rebuke and he owned his junk until he found the strength to start making real change.
He had two real friends at Straight Street. Friends that loved him enough to say the things that hurt and he loved us enough to take it. We weren't the kind of friends that would tell him he just made a mistake and everybody does it. We weren't going to join him at the bar or tell him it was ok to call in sick. On the street, desperation can be a motivating factor. Everything seems extreme because it is. The repercussions of bad choices are quick to rear their ugly heads and for many of our friends wise council scaffolded by love is always welcome and appreciated even if it isn't immediately implemented.
Those of us on the other side are actually worse off. We have a mindset that vulnerability and transparency are a threat to our prosperity. We see those traits as signs of weakness and weakness as character flaws and flaws as less than perfect and to be seen as less than perfect shatters the image we work hard to create for ourselves. It's an image we feel everyone wants to see. It's an image we fight to protect and so we walk around lying to each other and pretending to be the friends we think we want all the while longing to have and longing to be the friends we know we need. It's a lonely place and so our mind, soul and spirit travel to dark places and take up residence there.
The apostle Paul wrote that when he begged the Lord to take away his secret burden the Lord replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."2 His response? "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."3 Fear is not an option if you are willing to allow Christ to work in you that He might work through you. Keep it real. You will find the people around you appreciate your honesty and need it. You might find more commonality in your tribulations than you find in your conformity to "plastic" existentialism. You might find purpose in sharing your pains and your triumphs over them, than in the stagnation of pretending to not have any.
Jesus said He is the way and the truth and the life. Embrace Truth. Thanks for listening.
1 Romans 3:23 English Standard Version (ESV)
2 2 Corinthians 12:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 2 Corinthians 12:10 English Standard Version (ESV)