My youngest daughter is a little different from the rest of our family. She’s a bit more of a realist, a tough-cookie, tell it to you straight kind of gal. We noticed this pretty early, at maybe two years old, when I tried to sugar-coat a children’s story where the grandparents were raising their grandkids. I explained that the parents had maybe simply “gone away” for a little while. Her response, “They are dead, mom. They’re dead.”
Now, at eight years old, she has a way of getting right to the heart of the matter. She is unafraid to put even her parents in check. She recently scolded my husband for being overly critical of my son, and then she began to list all the good she saw in her brother. (Nice to hear compliments sometimes from the always-squabbling siblings.)
She has this truth-telling super-power that can sometimes be too blunt, but she is so stinkin’ cute and her delivery of the facts so direct, that adults are taken aback and actually pause and think about what she says. If a child can see the situation so plainly, perhaps there is legitimate truth beneath the observable or the pretense. Her articulation of the truth is a clean cut, not meant to wound, just to remove whatever is complicating the matter and get on with the business at hand. And this is what the truth of God’s word is meant to do.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
God’s word identifies lies and reveals sin, not to shame us, but to cut off what is false and get on with it. With healing of our damaged souls, with restoration of broken relationships.
The longer we try to conceal or minimize or justify sin (deceiving only ourselves since God is not fooled), the longer we keep ourselves from living the abundant life God intends for us. Facing our sin, or our brokenness resulting from someone else’s sin, isn’t easy. It is hard to make amends or offer forgiveness. It is messy to deal with layers of twisted emotion and dysfunctional patterns of behavior. But it is necessary to face truth, with all laid bare, in order to move, in order to let God move in and through you. Facing the facts is humbling. No one likes to be confronted with their faults. Our pride flares up. But looking honestly at our condition reveals our need for God—and that is just the place he wants us to start.
Repentance, growth, and change only occur when we deal with ourselves without pretense within the safe space of God’s truth. That truth being that we are wholly loved and wholly accepted by our kind and powerful Heavenly Father. God’s truth may cut us, but this is not to wound us. God’s word frees us—it removes condemnation, guilt, and shame.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We try to conceal or minimize the severity of our broken selves. But we need to be truthful. We need to expose all the broken places. God wants us to feel the full force of his mercy, his grace, his love, his power made perfect. And truth is the place to start. Truth-telling born out of God’s goodness. It is His desire to give us the best, all of himself to meet all of our soul’s needs.
My truth-telling daughter, who speaks plainly with no condemnation, has taught me this. Her desire to address the real issue at hand, without pretense, mirrors God’s desire for us. Letting God’s truth, God’s word, do its job and illuminate what we have kept in the dark allows love and maturity to increase. Dear Reader, now some time for self-reflection. Is there a place in your heart, in your life, where the truth of God’s word needs to penetrate? You can honestly look at yourself without fear. With Jesus, there is no condemnation. You will find acceptance, and God’s loving-kindness will meet you.
Praying peace for you,