A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 31: Full of Truth (John 1:17)
John’s gospel talks a lot about truth, to the point where Governor Pontius Pilate asks point blank, “What is truth?” Little did he know Truth was standing in front of him.
Back in 2005 Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness.” I think we all know what he means by that, but in case you’re having a hard time with it, truthiness means “the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.” Even as we the people cry out “I want the truth!” the new media and government officials spit back “That truth doesn’t fit my narrative, so I’m gonna spin and twist the truth to be whatever I want it to be!”
Sure it doesn’t flow as well as Jack Nicholson on the fictional witness stand, but you get the point.
People say they like leaders who “tell it like it is,” when in reality we like leaders who tell us what we want to hear. We’ve always been that way. It’s nothing new. But when we live in a world overrun with lies and spin and bias and “truthiness” how do we know who to listen to?
Jesus said his sheep know his voice.
Jesus wasn’t just full of truth, Jesus IS the truth. Jesus doesn’t just say that God’s word is true, he says God’s word IS truth.
The world needs both grace and truth. The world needs to hear “Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.” We need to be better at “speaking the truth in love.”
Truth without grace is cold, judgmental, unsympathetic. It causes us to become defensive and argumentative. Grace without truth is wishy-washy sentimentality. It breeds a laissez-faire attitude about life and morality.
We’re prone to overcorrect to one extreme or another. That’s why we need Jesus. He was the living embodiment of grace and truth. The phrase “full of grace and truth” is straight out of Exodus 34:6-7, “The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.”
Jesus will really tell it like it is, but you won’t feel beaten up afterward. He is “grace and truth” in the flesh.