Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“If you hold onto my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8: 31-32 (NIV)
If she’s not the fastest runner on her team I’d be surprised. She’s also an extraordinary athlete, with innate skills, aptitude, strength and flexibility to be able to perform at remarkable levels within a short period.
My elder Granddaughter Hannah is also a truth-teller.
It was probably her speed and trying to hit the corner of the bag just right, to get a good push-off to the next base, which caused the confluence of these traits to bubble up into a crisis of conscience the other day during her softball game. Attempting to score on another teammate’s hit, Hannah rounded third heading for home and eventually scored. The umpire and the other team’s third-baseman both said she touched third base.
But she knew differently. And so she went to her “safe-and-wise-place” for help. She knew that there the whole matter would be made right.
She told her Daddy that even though the others said she touched third base, she knew she hadn’t. Between gentle sobs causing tears to roll down her cheeks she told her Daddy what had happened and asked him, “Who should I tell?”
She wanted to make sure the truth prevailed. She hadn’t touched third. She felt locked in a “lie” and wanted to be free.
Well, by now the play was over and the next batter was up and, of course, in softball and baseball, as so many other sports, the rules don’t necessarily allow for the truth to prevail but only that the game has order and moves along. The umpires or referees become the arbiters of the “truth.”
With the play having moved well beyond that moment, her Daddy (another “truth-teller” of long-standing) was unable to help her correct that situation. He also knew that the answer that “it was up to the umpire” wouldn’t assuage her feelings. And it’s not the right answer. The truth is.
“Who can I tell?” Hannah wanted the truth to prevail. It’s freeing. It was meant to gush from each of us, as it does from innocent little children. Little children who give so much of themselves from the heart so easily and readily. The truth is all they know.
Until they are taught the ways of the world which demand conformity to rules of compromise—often just little “white-lies”—which allow our “games” to be played without too much interruption. Most sports (other than golf) require a suppression of the truth. It allows the game to be played and allows erroneous calls—lies, in a way—to prevail “for the good of the game.” And it happens in sports, at the office, in our homes and schools—all “for the good of the game.”
And well-meaning parents and other adults who are perhaps not yet fully conformed to the ways of the world’s rules—don’t know how to clarify for their children the lines now blurred between the truth and the falsehoods accepted “for the good of the game”, whether on the softball field or at school or the office.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a player or coach simply stand up to say “I missed third, and I’m out!” It would cost their team a run and maybe the game—but they would be free. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to watch that college football coach come off the sidelines years ago say to the referee “No, that was our fourth down” knowing that it would have cost his team the game. But he didn’t and instead his team got an extra play they didn’t deserve and won the game. The truth would have cost him the game, but it also would have set him free from knowing that even to this day his team really didn’t win the game, and free from the fact that even to this day his integrity—from that one moment—remains a bit tarnished in the eyes of some.
The truth would have set him free from all of that. It has that effect. It could have that effect on us and on all of those around us.
It’s the way Mary must have felt after Jesus came to her on that Sunday three days after He had been crucified on Calvary. She was in despair, crying her eyes out. Her Savior was gone—killed just three days earlier—she had seen him gasp His last breath on the cross. Until he came up behind her as she stood outside the tomb, and quietly said “Why are you crying?” In that moment, she knew He was still alive—and ran to tell that truth to everyone she could find, ignoring the prospects for certain condemnation from the society of the day. She was free—and it was the Truth which set her free.
Perhaps as we approach this Easter Sunday, we will be reminded again that amidst the rules of a society that causes us to conform to untruths, “white-lies”, lies and deception “for the good of the game”—the Truth still exists and the Truth will set us free. Not a political or intellectual truth, but the truth of the revelation of God in the person and resurrection of the Risen Christ. A “truth” found not in conforming to the ways and rules of the world apart from God and apart from His truth, but found instead in a turning back to God and obeying and holding onto His truth and His teachings for every day of our lives.
“Daddy, who should I tell? I missed third base.”
Good for you, Hannah. Good for you. And good for you Daddy in understanding what she really needed in that moment.
The truth will indeed set us free.
He is Risen. Happy Easter to us all.
In His Name—Scott