The old adage is true: “The truth hurts.” Not only is hearing the truth difficult but telling and admitting it are also.
Frank Serpico was one of those rare individuals that was willing to face and tell the truth in spite of the risks involved. He was a New York City policeman who was well acquainted with the graft and illegal acts of his cohorts. Failing to expose the truth would make him a part of the corruption. Telling the truth would invite their ostracism and scorn and perhaps put his life at risk. He chose to tell the truth—yet not without cost. His revelation helped clean up the city police force, but his personal and professional life suffered heavily. Death threats, faltering health, and eventually leaving the force were all consequences.
Jesus claimed to be the truth; many doubted. He also spoke the truth, but many were unwilling to listen. People’s doubts, however, didn’t change the fact that truth had stared them in the face.
Speaking the truth takes tact and a loving heart…especially when sharing it with people I love. When I see a friend or family member disregarding God’s plan or succumbing to harmful addictions, I must either intervene, hope someone else will, or simply turn a deaf ear. The same applies when it’s a stranger on the street or a politician in office. Telling the truth takes courage and love.
Hearing and responding to the truth others tell me about myself is no less challenging. Pride and prejudice will keep me from listening and responding. Prejudice causes my mind to be made up with no chance of change. Pride makes me believe I already know the truth, so there’s no reason to pay attention in the first place.
Facing the truth about myself is essential if I’m to stay on God’s course. When others share truth with you—regardless of their motive or your belief that it is truth, ask, “What can I learn from what has been shared?” Only by knowing, believing, and acting on the truth can you live in true freedom.
Prayer: Almighty God, give us courage to face and accept the truth when it comes our way.