- "You can't handle the truth!" Jack Nicolson, in the movie A Few Good Men
Truth. Seems like an easy enough concept, right?
Oh, but truth is only a concept we want when it suits us. Most us only want to know the truth about other things or other people. We love being truthful when it doesn’t concern us. Given the option we would take truth about someone else instead of ourselves. For the most part, I think many of us think that “we aren’t that bad”. We don’t murder, or steal, or sell drugs. We haven’t had an affair, or beat our kids. Yes, all that is true and it is good that we are not any of those things. But whether we like to think about it or not, we still sin. We all have stuff in our lives that goes against God.
And therein lies the problem. We don’t want to hear or think about that.
We can’t handle the truth.
The Bible says: 1 John 1:8 (NASB) If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. We must admit the truth about ourselves if we can ever have hope of overcoming sin in our lives. Of course we’ll never be completely perfect while we are on this earth, but I believe that there are some sins in our life that we can conquer. It is possible to be better at it than we are.
Every morning when I get up, against the advice of every weight loss book I’ve ever read, I weigh myself. I step on the scale and hold my breath while it calculates. I look down at the number glaring back at me, shake my head in disgust and start my day. While I’m brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I start thinking and planning what I’ll eat or how I much exercise I might need during the day in order to get that number down. But by evening, I’m sitting in front of the TV eating ice cream, or cookies, or….well, you get the picture. This has been my daily routine for a long time. Every day, and no change in my behavior or weight. The reason? Deep down, as much as I hate to admit this, I don’t really think there is anything wrong with me or what I’m doing to my body. I like eating more than I want to be healthy. I like the way food tastes more than I like being obedient. Romans 1:25 (NASB) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
And until I admit the truth about myself and my behavior, it will never change.
As flawed sinful humans though, we don’t want to hear it.
It’s this way of thinking that keeps us stuck in repetitive patterns. It is thinking that “it’s not so bad” that keeps us doing sinful things in our lives or to our bodies. I’m sure there are many of you out there who can think of an area in your lives that you have struggled with for a long time and you wonder, “why can’t I get this right”. Well, quite simply it’s because we haven’t admitted that it is really a problem. We haven’t recognized it for what it is, sin. If we don’t feel it is sin, we won’t ever feel we need help with it. And without help, we can never conquer it.
The truth is we all sin, every day in many ways. Jesus’ death on the cross not only opened the door and restored our relationship with God, it conquered the battle with sin forever. We are no longer mindless, sinning without any way to stop. We know what is right from wrong. We are capable of handling every situation of our lives. We have an example of what life is supposed to look like in Jesus’ time here on earth.
Once we know and accept the truth about ourselves, who Jesus is and what He can do for us, then and only then, can we be truly free from sinful, destructive, behavior in our lives.
John 8:32 (NASB) “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."