“Love…rejoices with the truth.” Love has a party with the truth! The word “rejoice” is not something we do alone, but something we do together. In Luke 15, in the parable of “The Lost Sheep”, “The Lost Coin” and “The Prodigal Son” we see in every case a celebration with friends and family over what had been lost. Do we celebrate truth with friends and family? Or is it still lost?
The lack of truthfulness is front and center of our society today. Do a google search on “fake news” and you will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of news stories on the fake news. One of the largest companies in the world just lost $150 billion because it enables fake news. Our politicians are obsessed with fake news. The buzzword for the Millennial generation is “authentic” which the dictionary defines as “real or genuine; not copied or false; true and accurate.” We are craving truth; we are craving love…the two cannot exist independently, they have to exist together.
The lack of truth is plaguing our families. I want to be a truthful man, but am I always a truthful man? I cannot say that I am always a truthful man. When I am asked a question that I am uncomfortable with, if I respond with vague and ambiguity, then I am probably not being truthful. It’s not just about telling overt lies…its how we “shape” the facts so that people believe something entirely different. The thing is, when I am not truthful, I destroy trust which destroys the very fabric of the relationship with Deirdre or my children.
The lack of truthfulness has seeped through the church as well. I do not see outright blatant lies too often (though that does happen) but I do see people “shaping the truth” through half-truths and distortions where what is being portrayed is not what happened. I see this commonly happening when there are conflicts. One person tells me one account of what happens and another person tells me an entirely different account. Now, this is normal to a degree because we each have different perceptions of what happens in a conflict and as long as people have a commitment to work it out with each other, I think this is healthy function conflict resolution. What I do get concerned with, is one person tries to influence what others think about the other person and take sides…this is when love stops. Truth tries to restore and repair…half-truths alienate and separate. The only way to bring about the truth is to shine a bright light and let the truth be evident.
The lack of truthfulness can also be found when we use words casually (hyperbole) or without really understanding what we are saying…when we do this, we cheapen the word and reduce its meaning. It is too easy to tell someone that you “love them” without really thinking through what that means. Within the church, I have told many people that I have loved them…yet never have my actions matched up…in many ways, it has become a causal filler word. Deirdre and I grew up in a church environment where we were taught that those who helped us in our relationship with God were our best friends for life; we would tell each other and others the same thing. The problem was that in so many cases these people were “assigned to help us” and as soon as the assignment ended, the relationship largely ended. I think back on these “countless best friends” and beyond a Facebook friendship, there is no relationship. The word best friend was a word that we would casually use and was not grounded in truth.
Loving by rejoicing in the truth is a high standard that I am failing in. How do we make sure that we are rejoicing the truth in our midst? What are some practicals on how we can live this out?