There’s a scene in the movie, “A Few Good Men” where Tom Cruise’s character is questioning Jack Nicholson’s character in a courtroom. Cruise’s character pushes at Nicholson’s, demanding the truth until Nicholson finally snaps & yells, “You can’t handle the truth!” I’ve been thinking a lot about that in the context of God’s truth & insight into my own life.
I’m on ‘Day 2’ at the Center for Spiritual Renewal in Christiansburg, Virginia. (You can find out more about it HERE if you’re interested.) So far, my time here has mostly consisted of grocery shopping, eating A LOT of BBQ, reading, pondering life, & a whole lot of quiet & alone time. But the highlight of each of the last 2 days for me has been when I get to sit with Chuck, my mentor/counselor/friend, & wrestle through “that which plagues my heart, mind, & life.” Chuck serves as one of my “healing relationships.” (You can find out more about what a healing relationship is HERE.) When we talk, he doesn’t just sit there like a bump on a log & ask inane questions, like, “How does that make you feel?” or go Dr. Leo Marvin on me. Instead, Chuck listens. Asks pointed questions. He draws stuff out of me that I hadn’t even consciously thought about, let alone verbalized. And then he speaks God’s truth to me.
Granted, it’s not always easy to hear the truth; & the Holy Spirit is always good about confirming what he’s said or whispering to me that I really need to pay attention to what was just said – that God was using Chuck to speak life, health, wholeness, & growth to me. That if I could handle the truth & respond to it with appropriate actions, I would continue to see God’s purposes for me & my life continue to grow & develop.
There have been times where Chuck said something & the Holy Spirit nudged me & STILL I was tempted to gloss over what I’d heard. To deny it. Justify or make excuses about WHY I am the way I am. To point fingers at others. To ignore it. To feel sorry for myself. To come face to face with truth & want to turn & run from it to avoid having to do something difficult.
The truth, spoken in love, challenges me to examine & be open to change/be transformed in my thought patterns, behaviors, &/or ways I see myself & my role at home, work, with friends, & others. God’s truth invites me to grow up into being like Christ in my relationships & interactions with others. To leave my childish sin & flesh-encrusted ways behind in order to intentionally embrace Christ-likeness, without regard for how (or if) others might act or respond.
The truth isn’t always easy to hear – but when it is spoken in love, with God’s heart for redemption, restoration, & transformation fully evident, it is a lot easier to handle. And the alternative is stagnation. Becoming set in my ways. A gradual(?) deterioration into the results of me living for me. The loss of the ability to hear the still, small voice of the Lord calling me to come to Him to be being made new.
My 2 cents: Find someone who will speak God’s truth to you, in love. Then, handle the truth by responding to God’s instruction. It’s worth it.