When we learn that truth is our friend, growth deepens.
I don’t know about you but I have discovered that there are things that I don’t want to be true and then there are things that I do want to be true. I really don’t want to know that there are better choices than eating a Hershey’s with almonds chocolate bar with extra almonds on the side. I would love to think that The Golden Rule always worked. That people always treated everyone all the time as they would like to be treated.
Seriously, it is often hard to realize that there are areas of our lives that require growth, areas that we would want to change so that we could receive the benefit of growth that comes from the truth. I am an energetic problem-solver, a strategist. I can often see a good, perhaps optimal solution sooner than others. In my effort to use this as a strength to benefit, I sometimes interfere with the plans and joy that others might experience by promoting my own solution or micromanaging as the challenge is resolved. I know this truth about myself and a careless use of this doesn’t support another value I have – that teamwork often produces the best answer in the end. So – I have given certain people in my life permission to let me know when I am beginning to follow that pattern. I never like to hear that truth but I am so thankful because truth is one of God’s essential tools for growing us up. And I want to be growing up in the Lord.
If you have been hurt by truth not spoken in love, or are afraid of it, one of our greatest desires is that you will learn to love and seek it. Truth is sometimes painful, but it is always our friend, because it comes from the Lord, whose love and truth protects us (Ps 40:11). He dispenses it to us out of a heart of compassion and grace. Like anything from God, truth works for us, not against us. (Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, How People Grow)
According to Dr’s. Cloud and Townsend,
- Truth provides a path for life. Truth is that path: I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws” (Ps. 119:30)
- Truth is married to love and grace. The Bible often puts love and grace together to show their closeness (Ps. 40:10; John 1:14; 2 John 3)
- Truth preserves and protects a life for us. It warns us of the danger of not following God’s ways. We search the Bible to solve problems. We go to trusted friends with our struggles, dreams and desires. Truth gives us answers, hope, and solutions.
- Truth separates what is real and what is not. When we are able to clearly see it and accept it as truth we have to let go of those things that we wish were true so we can work with what is real.
Our spiritual growth then requires certain ingredients to work correctly.
- A spiritual context where God is seen as central to growth
- Abiding human relationships that are loving and truthful
- Experience and competence in the particular areas of growth
- Enough time for the process to take hold
- A structure or framework that fits the need of the growers
We need not only to know the truth about ourselves, but also to act on it (James 1:22-25).
Excerpts from How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals about Personal Growth, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Professional Life Coach, Spiritual Director