THE BURDEN of TRUTH

BY:  JAN A. ANTONSSON

JUNE 15, 2014

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The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

 

“and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”  (John 8:32).

 

Most of us were taught growing up that we should, we must, we ought to tell the truth, or else.  The “else” part depended upon what kind of religion we subscribed to and the consequences for not doing so ranged from a scolding by our parents or teachers, to threats of hell fire by our religious leaders.  Either way, we knew we had to comply.  The idea behind it was to insure that we grew up with integrity so that we could be honorable people and good Christians.

 

We can learn what we should do to behave with integrity, but that doesn’t mean we can do it on our own.  It gets worse when we add to it the compulsion that some of us have had to be sure we tell others the truth so that they can be on the right road with us. A possible result of that could be that we both end up in the ditch.

 

Some folks take Jesus’ comment as a mandate to ram their concept of truth down the throats of all they meet.  That never plays well nor makes friends of people who disagree with us.

 

Do you judge people by their grasp of theology as you see it?  Do you feel the urge to denigrate others who differ from your political world view?  Do you feel your blood pressure rising or at least your irritation level when you hear viewpoints that you consider poppycock?  Been there, done that.

 

In his Meditation entitled, “Riverbed of Mercy,” Richard Rohr writes about the peaceful emotional place of yielding all our obsessions and compulsions to God’s mercy and grace:

 

“There is something in you that is not touched by coming and going, by up and down, by for or against, by the raucous team of totally right or totally wrong. There is a part of you that is patient with both goodness and evil, exactly as God is. There is a part of you that does not rush to judgment or demand closure now. Rather, it stands vigilant and patient in the tragic gap that almost every moment offers.”  End quote.

 

How I long to live in that blissful place of leaving all judgment to God, rather than just visiting it now and then.  I’m sure you long for that as well. It’s what Jesus came to offer the weary souls who had been slaving under the rigors of Law, exhausting themselves to the point of giving up.  He said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” yet how often do we feel like that about the things that concern or worry us?  More often than not, those things feel like the weight of the world to us.

 

We’ve had many days of storms this month and the other night when the thunder was rumbling and the lightning flashed, I asked the Lord to make me as trusting in His care of me as Jesus was when He fell asleep during a horrific storm on the Sea of Galilee.  I’ve gotten past thinking, “for sure, this one’s going to get me,” but I do get twitchy when the storms rage, especially at night when I can’t see what’s happening.    He answered my prayer, not by stopping the storm, but by allowing me to fall asleep in the middle of it.

 

It has become crystal clear in my own life and in yours when you share your troubles with me, that God sends the storms, be they natural, or spiritual in order to show us His on-going, constant care of us, which never stops, and which is never inadequate to the threat at hand.  His love is the constant truth that holds the Universe together and also, thankfully, our lives.

 

I’m still plodding through the Old Testament and one point continues to jump out at me: when the going got rough, the people cried out to God for deliverance.  In spite of their faithlessness in serving Him, their whoring after false gods, and their disrespect toward His Presence, the Lord always sent someone to deliver them from the grasp of their enemies, except, of course, when He’d had totally enough and sent them off to Babylon.

 

God is ultimate Truth, but He speaks from eternity and we live in time, which means that He measures to us what we can bear at that moment.  We tell our little children “Don’t cross the street alone.”  That statement is truth at the time, but once they grow in knowledge and have matured enough to understand the dangers, we say, “Be careful when you cross the street.”

 

The Law was a “child leader” to bring us to Christ.  As I am reading the Old Testament from start to finish, it comes to me once again that the entire purpose of the Law for Israel was to show them that they could never keep it.  Some of them tried, but I’m struck by how few really good men there were.  God, on the other hand, was always Good, patient and faithful.  At least 5 scriptures declare Him to be “gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex. 34:6; Num 14:18; Ne 9:17; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 145:8).

 

As a child, I was terrified of God because I read the horrific punishments He handed out to the hapless children of Israel.  In my naiveté and innocence, I thought the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must be really stupid to continue to disobey, in light of the threatened consequences.  How could they think they could hide their sins from the all seeing eyes of God?  Now, I realize that they weren’t stupid, merely stuck with the impossible task of pleasing God without the indwelling Spirit.

 

“What is truth?” asked Pilate, as he looked at the Incarnation of Truth. Since Christ dwells within us, we have access to the truth 24/7.  Truth isn’t something we proclaim or do; it is who we are in Him.  Christ chose us before the foundation of the world, Paul proclaimed.  What did we do then to deserve to be chosen?  It came not by the will of men, by flesh or blood, but it is by the will of the Father that we are His sons.  The hard part for me anyway, was to cease my struggles to become what I already am in Christ.  That’s the result of religion’s hold on the mind of men and women.

 

I grew up hearing what we should be, how we should act, and that all our mistakes would be held against us at the Judgment Day.  That’s not a recipe for a peaceful life.  Yet, God knew my heart; He knows your heart, and the incarnation means that He came to live His life in us and through us.  He came to give us the abundant life, but how much posturing and posing goes into trying to convince ourselves that we have it, until by the Spirit, we finally understand we do have it, no matter what it looks like?

 

I’m in recovery from being a “human doing,” from thinking that I had to please God and man in order to deserve the air I breathed.  Now that I’m old, slowed down by joint pain, unable to buzz around helping people or serving others in some way, I’m gratefully ready to accept that my life’s worth is not about what I can do or write or say, but about who He is in me.

 

God said to Israel, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36: 25-28).  It was not for the sake of Israel that God would do this, but for the sake of His holy name.

 

He is still moving in us and through us for the sake of His holy name, which we bear, and His promise to them is also His promise to us: “you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”    He IS our God, not because we chose Him, but because He chose us before the Foundation of the World!  Knowing the truth sets us free from obligation, duty, and self-doubt, allowing us to soar in the heavenlies with our Father and elder Brother.

 

Father, we thank You for carrying our burden for us, and for delivering us from ourselves.  By Your grace, we rest in You, knowing that You do all things well.  You are our daily bread.  We give you honor and glory and blessings, world without end.  The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  Amen.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BURDEN of TRUTH [Jan A. Antonsson] 06-15-14          3

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