two men chatting by a lake

The Truth Can Hurt

Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

Proverbs 14:34 NLT

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT

The first verse above gives us the real path to making a great nation. It is not in electing someone who claims he or she can save us. It is in electing to love and obey the One who already did. It is in choosing to confess our sin, turn from it, and embrace the Truth.

Not my truth. Not your truth. Not their truth. But His.

While it is not hateful to tell the truth, it might be hurtful to those who don’t want to hear it. But hurtful is not the same thing as hateful. And hurtful can sometimes be helpful.

If a nonverbal child wants to be the next American Idol or a blind teenager aspires to become an airline pilot, a little truth is needed. And in the case of the teenager, maybe a lot of truth.

We are called to know truth, believe truth, live by truth, and proclaim truth.

As Christians, we cannot intentionally harm anyone. But failing to speak truth can cause the worst kind of harm imaginable. Christians have forever been opposed by those who do not want to know the truth. While a relatively new phenomenon in American culture, historically, Christianity has been seen through a lens of threat and danger. At its inception, it was vigorously opposed by ultra-conservative religious leaders, liberal-minded pagan communities, and entire empires.

And let’s face facts. Christians have a checkered past when it comes to living out the truth we claim to believe and proclaim from our platforms. We have a history of ignoring, denying, and twisting the truth at times. We have sometimes aligned ourselves with movements, institutions, and individuals who are either untruthful, unloving, or both. We have been tragically inconsistent regarding the truth with the honor it deserves. And, at times, our methods of proclaiming truth have been intentionally antagonistic.

To ignore those failures and the suffering inflicted by them is to deny the very truth we champion. As we acknowledge those painful and embarrassing facts, we admit that sometimes the truth about ourselves is just as hard to swallow.

Still, the truth is the truth. And it is vital for us to embrace it, no matter how painful. The truth can be, and often is, hurtful, but it is not hateful. It is possible, however, to speak the truth in a hateful way. Being intentionally hurtful in the manner with which we share truth is just as much a sin as denying the truth or failing to proclaim it.

So, as gently as I know how to proclaim it, here’s the truth that needs to be proclaimed: There are two genders. God made them male and female. God said that. Jesus affirmed it. It is truth. (Matthew 19:4)

To struggle with gender dysphoria has to be incredibly disconcerting. I cannot imagine the angst of feeling trapped in the wrong body. My heart hurts for anyone struggling with that angst. But choosing to identify as something that you are not does not make it true. It can make you more comfortable in your own mind, but it doesn’t make it real.

Some choose to attack the reality of truth instead of accepting it. In the same vein, some deny God’s existence in order to deny his authority to decide what truth is. We do not change the truth by denying it. And while we are allowed to reject his existence and his right to govern our lives for a while, eventually, we will answer to Him.

That is also the truth.

I love my Savior and the people He wants to save too much not to tell the truth. And I long to speak truth in a manner that causes as little hurt as possible.

I must tell the truth.

I must do so with love.

If I could say it better, please let me know how.

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