WWJD: Just tell the truth already

Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 1 Corinthians 13:6, NLT

Have you known someone, then found out later that they hid things about themselves? Left you wondering if they were really who they seemed to be? Why they didn’t think you could hold space for their truth?

Or maybe you were the one hiding the truth. Maybe you were hiding the truth about a situation because you wanted to protect the parties involved. Thought telling the whole story would protect the ones you loved from getting hurt. Or even protect you from the consequences. Protect you from the hurt. From damage.

Does anything good come from withholding the truth?

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Luke 12:2, NLT

Well, God’s Word says in Proverbs 19:9 that the one who hides the truth will get caught, and that all secrets will be known; and from my own experience-His Word holds true.

Let me share the quickest version I can of a story for you skeptics.

My view was different. My methods for moving people towards change are different, and sometimes for that, I don’t see eye to eye with people. In working with kids, one thing I have learned is that not one is to be treated in my space the exact same. Sure, there are treatment plans that are written with the same language, but one method I may use with one, isn’t going to work in the next session with another. I also know that treatment plans are, well….”plans.” Plans are usually wrecked when working with kids. Fluid. And each session I have with one, is just that-fluid. In counseling-plans are for insurance billing and goal-setting. I am for the client.

This is why I don’t often see eye to eye with everyone. If I don’t think it will help the mental health of my client, I won’t do it. But, I haven’t always had the luxury of telling this truth, or to the other parties involved. And it was for a time brutal. In my desire to protect, I didn’t reveal all that occurred (nor, will I here-it could fill a book). The withholding. The hiding. It bred anger and bitterness. That was outwardly expressed. Until I finally just told the truth.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32, NLT

Healing began once the truth was told. It wasn’t anything I could really explain. But change occurred. God breathes life into relationships when truth is revealed in kindness and love, only for the purpose of mending and healing.

I haven’t always been an example of this since that time, but it’s an example I try to be each time I think back to that time. “Always. Always be an example of truth. Even if it’s messy. Even if it hurts.”

Need a further reference for how hiding the truth is the opposite of love? In 1992, the movie A Few Good Men became a box office hit. Starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, and many others, it told the story of two lawyers defending two Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine who had fell out of favor with the others, mainly for breaking the chain of command, reporting inappropriate actions, and requesting a transfer. The murder had reportedly been ordered by the commanding Colonel, played by Jack Nicholson.

Two men. Two very different truths. One truth is based on a code of honor, dignity, and what is believed to be right from a governing force or institution. The other truth? Based on common character, integrity, truth, justice, and beliefs about what is right and fair provided by the general preservation of lives. One was searching for the truth. One was hiding it.

In the movie’s famous interrogation scene comes the most remembered line from Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth!” Right before admitting the cold-hard truth.

It actually sounds a lot like my story…without the murder and court trial.

It’s common. We lie. We withhold the details because we can’t handle the truth. We can’t handle the consequences that the truth will create. The feelings. The ways in which the truth will affect others.

But the truth is freeing. The truth is necessary. The truth is healing. Speaking the truth is not done in an effort to limit or to judge. It is done to create change that can build character, dismantle oppression, address injustice, protect others from future hurt, teach others how to stand up in the future, and build integrity.

We teach when we reveal truth. We stand for something when we reveal truth.

We love when we reveal truth.

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