The truth can REALLY hurt. I’m not talking about the overly-sensitive old nature that screams whenever Truth touches it. I’m talking about the pain that comes when you realize it’s true that a fundamental part of you is considerably less than you thought it was.
What we do when we are invaded and pierced by the truth defines us. Will we receive the truth or reject it? If we reject the truth, we will perish. “They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10b). I know what it is to be gutted by the truth and to come back swinging. I was utterly ungrateful to anyone who told me the truth about myself, if not downright vicious. I shot many a messenger back in the day. But somewhere in my heart, I must have said yes to the truth, because I just couldn’t escape it. I had no effective wall against it. The truth went in whether I wanted it to or not.
I know that this was integral to my salvation, and I know that it’s been integral to every sanctifying breakthrough that I’ve experienced since. If Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” then to love Him is to love the truth. If I said that I loved Jesus while deflecting truth like Wonder Woman deflected bullets, I’d be a liar. A perishing liar clothed in delusion.
Why am I talking about this? Because this is one of the roughest fundamentals of discipleship. I am never so tested in my relationship with God as when He delivers a truth I don’t like. Maybe it’s a shocking truth about someone I love, or maybe it’s a humiliating truth about me. Either way, I can’t talk my way through a truth-bomb, and neither can anyone else.
To receive the truth changes the entire landscape of my life. Receiving the truth, which is to say receiving reality according to God, changes the way that I see everything – my past, the people I love, myself, and of course, God. I’ll go a step further and say that I cannot change unless I receive the truth. Truth is the Rock Himself, and no man comes to the Father except by Him.
The life of a disciple is full of Truth—it is essential! We receive hard truths, and we’re called upon to give them. And it is no easy task to deliver a word of Truth to another person, particularly a friend. Sometimes they receive it and love you for it. But there are plenty of times when they reject the Truth and hate your breathing guts. It’s at these moments that the only Peace possible is Jesus Himself. As John said yesterday, “Peace can be known in any situation, simply because we know we are right with God.” When the tempest comes, I’ve found that the only anchor in the storm of rage and lies is the One who is Truth.
But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 HCSB