We live in very interesting times. That is clearly an understatement. How do we find truth in this world? Everyone has their perspective on what truth is. How do we know what is and what is not truth? The reality is we don’t know from a day to day perspective what truth really is, but we do have a baseline from which all truth grows. This reading is from the book of John 8: 31-35:
31 Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.” How can you say, “You will become free?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
35 A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains.
In the spirit of truth I will openly acknowledge that there were times in my life that I was not an honest person. I know I am not alone in that regard. In hindsight, looking back at those times I can honestly say that I had separated myself from God for my own selfish interests. There are many “taxes” on the individual that does not live in the truth. First and foremost you lie to people whom you love and this hurts them and your relationship with them. There are times these valuable relationships may never be fully repaired. You may be forgiven, but you risk changing that relationship forever and hurting the individual(s) you have lied to in a way that they will always carry with them. You have committed the sin and many times this leads down a slippery slope to more lies, trying to keep track of your stories, and then the unending guilt that comes along with all of this. The situation just continues to build up and then there is the inevitable time when you need to come clean and speak the truth to those you have hurt. This brings anger and separation in your relationships. Remember what the Bible tells us in Matthew 5:21-26:
21 “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’
22* But I say to you, whoever is angry* with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
23 Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,
24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
25 Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
26 Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.
Following God’s word and being truthful with one another, forgiving one another, and most importantly reconciling with one another IS our baseline. This is where we need to start to ensure we have truth in our lives. If we are truthful to each other, forgive each other when needed, and reconcile to preserve the relationships that have been hurt, whether you are the sinner or are the victim of sin, we are living Jesus’s word in our daily lives. Is this easy? No. Following Jesus is hard. He asks us to go against the grain and live a life that is very different than what is acceptable in society today. What do we get in return for living the life that Jesus asks us to live? COMPLETE AND TOTAL FREEDOM. Living the truthful life builds relationships stronger, eliminates the guilt that often drives low self-esteem, and relieves the stress of living an alternate life, a life that is not based on truth, and a life of sin that separates you from God and each other. Sin is insidious. The evil one is patient and works to separate you from God and each other over time. Do not give him the chance to do this. As Paul says in his letter to the Colossians:
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.