Whenever people talk about truth, certain phrases like “the truth will set you free” and counsel that it isn’t to be feared, ought to be embraced, etc. arise. Even though the previous quote is taken out of context to mean something much more general that it originally did not, the truth of it (mind the pun) remains. Truth is especially important in the context of our interpersonal relationships. The paradoxical nature of truth is that while it “liberates” it also “constricts”. It constricts perception to reality but it also frees from the danger of believing things that aren’t true about self and others. Whereas truth illuminates, ignorance blinds. In the same way that darkness prevents us from seeing our steps, the blindness of ignorance prevents us from living life to its fullness. Ignorance is a passive position. Ignorance cannot be obtained unless the truth is willingly sacrificed and suppressed. We are all born without knowledge (“ignorant”) in a majority of areas in life. We have simply passed from childhood to adulthood through maturity and education (hopefully), one beam of light at a time. Therefore, if we believe we have truth and a dear one doesn’t, we must approach them humbly knowing that we were once without as well.
Sometimes truth hurts tremendously and sometimes this author wishes he hadn’t known the truth about certain things. In fact, truth can be world-shattering just as after you’ve been in a dark room for some time and someone flips on the light unexpectedly. In this way, paradoxically, truth is blinding for a moment but the perception of our spirits adjusts quickly if we embrace it. Therein lies the complex nature of truth, sometimes it is necessary and even vital to the growth of a relationship while other times certain things can be held back in order to preserve harmony.
Now this is not to say that lying is ever acceptable and decent human beings should always endeavor to tell the truth; however, sometimes this author may find that speaking truth regarding a particular situation is far too costly to the relationship depending on how important the truth is. Because truth also divides as light does the darkness, it can often create conflict. However, insofar as our desire to bring truth to the table is mitigated by a sober understanding of its effect on our relationships as well as a desire for the relationship to either grow as a result, we will then be able to use discernment to know when it ought to be shared or not. Even when truth creates unwanted tension in relationships, it must not be viewed as an enemy but as a dear friend. If a man is aware of the lighthouse on the shore warning approaching ships of dangerous rocks, then advising those approaching in a way that shows them the gravity of their situation is a justice that he can (and ought) to do. The watchman does this so that the person receiving the truth of perilous shores is able to see more clearly in order to navigate this life’s treacherous waters.
May each reader be inspired to value their loved ones enough to share the truth and to discern when to withhold it.