Exodus 20:16 ESV
Psalm 145:18 ESV
I John 1:8 ESV
I John 4:6 ESV
I Need to add a caveat to UN truth as we begin to see what God has for us. I do not like making mistakes. It’s more than being caught making a mistake. I really dislike doing the wrong thing or making the wrong choice. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been that way. I think that was because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, especially my dad.
He was a man of truth.
So, when I wasn’t truthful because I was trying to cover up my mistakes, I would dig a deep hole where I tried to hide my mistake.
It wasn’t because he was harsh when I made a mistake. He wasn’t. He was truthful.
I simply struggled to ‘own’ my mistake.
I’m not sure I was aware of that until I had my oldest son. See, from the time he was able to talk and I would ask him if he was responsible for doing something, he owned it.
Not only did he ‘own’ it. Even when he was 2-3 years old he spoke clearly and didn’t blink. He would answer, “yes, I did it.”
I’m not sure but I don’t remember teaching him that. I do know that from the time he was very small he was my dad’s buddy. My daughter is my firstborn, and from the time she was one day old, my Mom carried her around everywhere when we went to their house. I remember the first time she held her, she wouldn’t let me or my dad hold her. As my daughter grew older my dad did interact with her, but while she was an infant the minute I walked into my parents’ house, my Mom held her.
So, when my son was born while my Mom busy holding my daughter, my Dad had a chance to sit with my son.
I don’t know if my Dad passed on ‘Truth’ to him, but somehow he also became a true truth teller. I need to say that my daughter is a truth teller as well, but it was in a different way.
I learned later in life that everyone has a ‘tell’ when they make a mistake. If they are very very good at hiding it or lying, the ‘tell’ will be hidden, but it is there. When my daughter was young and she made a mistake she would cry. That became her signal of truth.
I have also noticed that while lying to cover up the truth isn’t always the case, it’s been my experience that most people don’t lie just because they want to lie. Most people lie as a means of covering up the truth.
Early on, scripture is clear about our responsibility with truth. In the Ten Commandments God told Moses in Exodus 20:16, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
The Hebrew word for ‘bear false witness’ is saqer (false) and ed (witness). God instructed, do not be a people who are not truth tellers. Do not lie. In particular do not try to cover up your mistake or your untruth by telling a lie.
This commandment focused specifically on how the children of Israel were to interact with each other. God was telling them to ‘own’ the truth.
God wanted them to be known as a people who didn’t blink, who answered, “Yes, I did it.”
Because I hated making mistakes, I had to learn to forgive myself for making a mistake so that I could ‘own’ it.
In Psalm 145:18, David wrote, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Honestly, what God wants most from us is our authentic selves coming to Him and telling Him how we really feel. If you’re confused, tell God. If you’re mad, say so. Give God the gift of really saying how you feel.
That’s where a real relationship with God begins.
I John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Tell God the truth. Tell about how you messed up. Lay it all out on the table. Then you can say sorry and let it go. Forever.
Eventually I learned that the focus wasn’t on my sin or even on my ability to confess. The real point is giving God whatever we are carrying. God doesn’t want us to carry it alone. Jesus came so He could carry it for us. That can’t happen unless we let go of it.
I John 4:6 tells us, “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
In Seminary I not only studied Biblical truths and Biblical languages, I had to take a good look at who I am. Part of the curriculum included taking a barrage of psychological personality tests. Learning how I react with others helped me to understand my strengths and weaknesses. Every test cautioned me to be aware of who is truthful and who is untruthful. See, I tend to think the best of everyone. While that can be very good, it can also be harmful. The psychologists who studied my tests warned me to surround myself with people who can help me discern the Spirit of Truth from the Spirit of error.
I took their advice seriously. I asked God to warn me whenever the spirit of error is near me. God gives me warning dreams when the spirit of error is or will be nearby.
I also have a team of trusted people I can go to when I get an uneasy feeling. They have the gift of discernment. I have eight children (four I gave birth to and four I have been blessed with by marrying my children.) Several of them have the gift of discernment; two of them have discernment as their number one gift. They are all praying people. They surround me and help warn me. One of them served in the U.S. Marine Corp and I believe it’s true…once a Marine, always a Marine. Wherever you live…whatever country you live in, those of you who have been professionally trained to recognize truth will always be a blessing to others!
God made sure I have advisers I can trust. I remind folks who have the gift of discernment how important their gift is; not only for themselves, but for others in their circle of influence.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Discernment
Consider and ask God if you have the gift of discernment. If you get a strong feeling about people you meet, whether they are authentic and truthful or they possess a spirit of error, you may have the gift of discernment. If you have the gift, ask God how you can use it. If you do not have the gift of discernment, ask God to send you someone who does have it.
In God, Deborah