Have you ever run from the truth? Why would we do that? Won’t the truth set us free? But the truth can also hurt a whole lot in the process. That’s what we call a “hard truth”.
My wife and I are blessed to live down the hall from Joy and Nathan. They’re great friends of ours that we met through a Bible study. When we were looking to move closer to Chicago’s north shore we decided to move into their building. We’re somewhere between roommates and neighbors – sharing ingredients, giving rides, growing in life and relationship together. Recently Jaci and I found out that Joy and Nathan were moving down south to start a family near where they grew up. It came as no shock to us as they had been discussing these plans for almost a year.
What was a shock to me, however, has been my response. I find myself being short in conversations about their move or whenever we are talking to the two of them. That’s me avoiding the subject. Also, I found myself last night unconsciously making a hurtful joke to Nathan about them no longer being able to play board games with us. Really? Something that trivial? I felt like I was 6 years old. That’s me pushing back to keep from feeling my feelings.
The truth in the situation is that I’m sad. I’m scared and hurt that they are leaving and I don’t want them to go. I’m attached to them and feel like a piece of me is moving with them. But if the truth will set me free then why can’t I just accept it instead of trying to flee from it?
It reminds me of Jonah in the Bible. God asks Jonah to preach to the Ninevites so they can turn from their evil ways. Deeply and personally hurt by these people, he doesn’t want to accept the fact that God will do anything but punish this people. He decides to run away from God’s command. Jonah hitches a ride with a merchant ship and tries to sail away from his problems. He doesn’t want to see it any other way than the way he has already been seeing it.
God sends a fierce storm to where Jonah is sailing. The pagan merchants are so scared that they begin tossing the commodities and shipments overboard in an attempt to keep afloat. They cry out their gods to save them. All the while, Jonah is fast asleep below deck! These merchants are throwing away their very livelihood and Jonah is taking a nap!
Jonah didn’t avoid God’s command just once – he had the intention of getting as far away as he could from it. In the process he had developed a way of acting that resembled that. He wasn’t just physically getting away – he was mentally checking out. His entire attitude was to avoid – to the point that he could sleep through a life-threatening situation.
Checking out of the truth is addictive. If you do it enough it will gain momentum and continue as a pattern in your life. Sooner or later someone will get hurt – in my case I poked my finger in a friend’s wound. Jonah passed on the consequences of his inaction to an entire ship full of men.
What are the blind spots you’re allowing in your life? Where are you deciding not to decide or avoiding the hard, painful truth?