March 24

Choosing Truth

You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. —John 8:31-32

My husband and I promised ourselves when our daughters were young that we would never lie to them. That has meant not lying when my vege­tarian daughter asks if I’ve put fish sauce in the dish I’m making for dinner — even though I still sometimes want to think that a “little white lie” won’t do any harm. It has also meant that we’ve had some difficult conversations with our kids earlier than we would have liked, for instance when one of them asked, “How did Lynn’s dad die?” (by suicide).

I’m sometimes struck that Jesus said, “The truth will make/set you free” instead of “The truth will make things easier.” We’ve discovered that tell­ing the truth is sometimes more painful than telling a lie, at least initially. Explaining suicide to an 11-year-old was definitely harder than pretending that he was killed in a car crash.

At the same time, we’ve learned that once we are in the habit of telling the truth, we are all much freer to trust and be trusting. We aren’t imprisoned by suspicion or second-guessing someone else, and we don’t have to spend any energy trying to hide the truth from each other. It really is freeing to know that we can presume honesty and truthfulness in our household, even though it will sometimes bring with it pain.

FOR ACTION: Is there any situation in which you need to share the truth with someone else so that you can both be freer? Pray for the courage and insight for how to do that, and commit to doing it this week.