As I grew older and entered my middle school years, I began to get really good at lying and staying true to the lies that were needed to cover the lies. I was not committed to following Jesus, and my life was about getting away with whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. When I said yes to following Jesus at the age of sixteen, this habit had rooted itself deeply within me. I continued to dance at the edge of truth and falsehood for a few more years until I was forced to face my capacity for selfishness and lies. I knew the end result of this pattern was that I would become a person that was alone and afraid. I chose radical honesty. It was not because I was especially virtuous, but because I realized my capacity for evil.
Over the years, I've learned to make some distinctions. One important one was the difference between transparency and honesty. I am not committed to transparency with everyone I know. But I am committed to being truthful, to the best of my ability, in the impressions I give others about who I am. Not everyone deserves to know every detail of my life. I also am learning to be more gentle in the way that I speak, to also convey the love I feel in the truth I tell.
My wife and I have chosen to follow a similar path to what I had as I child with the holiday myths. They can be fun stories for our children, but in the end they are a delight of the imagination, not a reality to be believed. We have done the same with the daily adjustments of life, choosing to tell them the truth even if it means more tears from them today.
What areas of your life can change to be more truth-filled? Are there relationships that are characterized by fear and pretending? What if you took off the mask and simply let them see what you really are about?
I'm still a little uncomfortable with Menno's choice. I wonder if trust in God and a fuller honesty would have served him well. I wonder what it did for him. The commitment to truth has changed me. Sometimes I've had to answer in a way that cost me greatly. But in the end, I've been formed into a person who sleeps well at night with nothing to hide. And I believe that seeking truth, living in truth is what will set us free. It is living in the light.
-John M Troyer
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