Truth is a big deal for Christians. “The truth will set you free!” (John 8:32) we encourage each other. The famous Love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 states that “Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth” (v 6). We are admonished to “speak the truth in love” and “put on the belt of truth” (Eph 4:15 and 6:14). Paul tells us that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). John loves to call the Third Person of the Trinity “the Spirit of Truth” (14:17, 15:26, 16:13). But just as the term “the Law” (torah) in the Bible means more than just the Old Testament commands, so does “the truth” mean more than just creedal confessions. Yes, “the truth” includes theological assertions like “God created the world” and “Jesus is fully God and fully human.” But it also includes personal truths that you must embrace if you are enjoy the abundant life promised in John 10:10. (NOTE: we’re not talking about that which is necessary for “salvation” here, just the flourishing that God intends for all His creation that is available to us now thanks to the saving work of Jesus).
Scott Peck, in his masterwork The Road Less Travelled, lists several truths that we must embrace in order to be happy. Or, perhaps more accurately, myths we must set aside to avoid becoming unhappy. They are “cherished notions and old ways of doing and looking at things” that must be given up. This giving up is painful, however, so many cling to them, thereby failing to truly grow up and “experience the joyful sense of rebirth that accompanies the successful transition into greater maturity” (59).
Here are the myths that must be set aside at the appropriate time in life, the old ways that must be given up when the time comes:
- The state of infancy, where you don’t need to respond to any external demands
- The fantasy of omnipotence
- The desire for total possession of your parents
- The dependency of childhood
- Distorted images of your parents
- The limitless potential of adolescence
- The “freedom” of uncommitment
- The agility, attractiveness and/or potency of youth
- The fantasy of immortality
- Authority over your children
- Various forms of temporal power
- The independence of physical health
- Life itself
Only because of faith in the theological truths about God could we have the strength to turn from these personal falsehoods. They are not theological heresies; they are emotional heresies. We need a wider vision of the impact the truth can have in our lives. After all, this is part of what the truth sets us free from.