You Can’t Handle the Truth

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. When we are involved in an argument with someone, truth may come out that brings pain and regret. Facing the reality of our sins is always hard. When Nathan confronted David about his sin of adultery, the great king had to reconcile his actions with his faith. Being told that he was breaking God’s law was something he couldn’t handle. We can’t handle it either when we are confronted with ugly truths about our behaviors and actions.

In our passage from John today, Jesus tells his disciples that they will not be able to handle the things he has to say as he is preparing to leave this world. He has been speaking about sin, righteousness, and judgment:

John 16 (Common English Bible)

“I didn’t say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go away to the one who sent me. None of you ask me, ‘Where are you going?’ Yet because I have said these things to you, you are filled with sorrow. I assure you that it is better for you that I go away. If I don’t go away, the Companion won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 

When he comes, he will show the world it was wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. He will show the world it was wrong about sin because they don’t believe in me. 10 He will show the world it was wrong about righteousness because I’m going to the Father and you won’t see me anymore. 11 He will show the world it was wrong about judgment because this world’s ruler stands condemned.

That was a lot to take in. Jesus says that the world has been wrong about sin and righteousness, perhaps referring to the old way of living under the minutiae of the 613 man-made laws that supplanted the Ten Commandments. Remember that Jesus himself has clarified things according to a new way: we are to love God and love one another with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The world has been wrong about him because they don’t believe in him. But judgment is coming, and the world’s ruler stands condemned. They just can’t handle this truth.

12 “I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now. 

In a final act of mercy, Jesus promises to send the Spirit of Truth to continue to teach and guide them in this new way. This will enable them to handle the truths to come.

13 However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. He won’t speak on his own, but will say whatever he hears and will proclaim to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and proclaim it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That’s why I said that the Spirit takes what is mine and will proclaim it to you.

All of the promises of God are still available. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost will be the deliverer.

Today as you meditate on this text, ask the Spirit of the living God to fall afresh on your heart. And ask him to reveal his truths to you and through you.

Fall Afresh on Me by Michelle Robertson

Truth

Truth. What an elusive word. Truth is very much on trial these days. The twisting and manipulating of facts to fit political agendas is so rampant that we don’t trust anything, and we question everything…as we should. What is the truth? Can we ever know anymore?

God’s word is the last remaining truth, and yet we see even scripture being used to forward agendas. Clever people can argue a scripture “both ways” in order to push a personal perspective. It happens at all levels of ecclesiastical structures, the government, and even from your local pulpit and Sunday School class.

I think we have forgotten that God has sent us an advocate who is the only one capable of speaking truth into a situation. The Holy Spirit, referred to as a Companion in this translation, was given to us by Jesus upon his departure from this earth so that we might know the truth. But notice how this passage starts:

John 14 (Common English Bible)

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. 17 This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you.

Jesus is making a direct connection between keeping the commandments and knowing the truth. The commandments are something else we have forgotten. In a world that doesn’t know or follow God’s rule of living, truth becomes muddled and unobtainable. And while the Ten Commandments still stand as foundational to our society and even our laws, let us not forget what Jesus said are the greatest ones:

Matthew 22 (New International Version)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The TRUTH of the matter is, if we were to do just these two things, truth would be revealed. If we were actually capable of loving God with ALL our heart, soul, and mind, we would contain the truth within ourselves. Loving God with all our minds would mean there is no room for hate-talk, vitriol, prejudice, bias, or ostracizing the “other.” The truth would render us incapable of doing and saying much of what we do and say today. The truth would enable us to truly love our neighbor, and in so loving, all political and personal agendas would cease.

Notice how Jesus refers again to keeping the commandments:

John 14 continued

18 “I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Want to know the truth? Try being the truth. Try filtering all of your thinking through the commandments. And where your thinking doesn’t measure up to loving God and loving what he loves, change your mind. If your words and deeds don’t measure up to loving your neighbor, change your behavior. The Holy Spirit enables us to love as God loves. That’s the truth.

The Truth Will Set Us Free by Barbara Hudson