Sunday, January 22, 2006

It can be wrong to tell the truth

Sometimes telling the "truth" can be as wrong as telling a lie. Jesus did not call us to merely tell the truth, nor did He model it in His life.

I am ofttimes with people where the shallow defense "I was telling the truth" is used to mask a cruel gesture to another person.

We simply cannot accept that our call to truth is as simple as "truth at all costs." Does this mean that we are required then to lie on occasion?

The answer to the last question is easy. Sort of.

While hiding Jews in your attic the Nazis at your door ask if there are Jews in the house. To say "no" is to lie; to say "yes" is certain death for the hiding Jews. The choice is between truth and justice.

The answer is further polluted by the prostitute Rahab who lived in the wall of Jericho.

Rahab hid the Israeli spies (Jews) on her roof, lying to the authorities (Nazis?) searching for them. God spared Rahab in Jericho's destruction; she is even in Hebrews "Hall of Faith."

Ultimately Rahab was not honored for her prostitution or lies, but her faith. Our broken world creates such foggy scenarios where right can be mistaken for wrong and wrong for right; clarity can be fleeting.

This is not my point.

We are called to truth, which is clear enough. But it does not stop there. We are specifically called to speak the truth in love. Love is the irremovable trump card.

We demonstrate servanthood by exercising grace and patience, by mercy and forgiveness and by laying down our lives for others. Cruel truth (or cold hard truth) alone does not fit into that mold. Truth in love, however, is like a tailored glove.

This does not mean we are not to speak up when we can prevent injustice. But the next time you are tempted to cruelly point out another's failure, remember to step back and identify that such a desire for "truth" in itself can be wrong.

Silence, after all, is next to Godliness.    

No comments: