After we have found the truth (been presented with it in one way or another), we make a choice about whether or not to face it. Simply being told the truth does not cause us to admit that it is true. Those who after hearing the truth, slip back into denial and mythology, have chosen not to face it. I haven’t used much scripture in my blog because I want people other than Christians to be able to feel at home here, but in this case I cannot help it. Scripture just speaks too clearly about this:
John 3:19-21 (The Message)
19 “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.
20 Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure.
21 But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness.
When light comes into our lives but we run for the darkness, that’s denial. That’s retreating back into mythology and illusion. That’s refusing to face the truth. By the way, don’t over-spiritualize this. Don’t assume this is referring to “spiritual truth” only. In fact, there’s no such thing as spiritual truth. Something is either true, or it isn’t. If something is true it comes from, and is a reflection of, the source of truth, which is God. (Of course this is just my opinion, but of course this is my blog. So there. Na-na-na-boo-boo.) Truth is truth.
Our knee-jerk, gut-level response to truth is to face it run from it. That’s a problem. This is the crisis we’re in. The denial and illusion many people are living in reminds me a little of Iraq. It’s a mess over there. Intermittent water and electricity. Huge piles of rubble and stinking garbage. Fear. Where do you begin to sort it out? You want to start over here, but you can’t really do your work over here until the mess is cleaned up over there. So you start fixing what’s wrong over there, but find that you can’t do that job without tools in still another place, so you head over there to get them but they are broken and in pieces. It would be easy to get overwhelmed and give up. Like I have in my messy garage.
The Iraqi people have “adjusted” to life in a war zone. Life goes on amid the rubble, and the stinking piles of garbage, debris, and burned out vehicles. They have fit themselves to the reality of their lives. We do much the same. Our lives may be a mess, but we fit ourselves to them. We live on amid the rubble, the stinking piles of emotional garbage, the debris, and the burned out places in our lives. We know it’s messy. We know it could use some attention and digging out. We know the garbage stinks (we can’t smell it anymore, but others hint at it from time to time — of course those people are on a long list of people who we don’t talk to anymore). We know this is no way to live, but we don’t know where to begin. It’s just too much of a mess.
So on we go, living life among the rubble. These untruths we are living in are obvious to nearly everyone around us. They are, in the words of Parker Palmer, “secrets hidden in plain sight.” Still we go on, making the best of it, because we just don’t want to deal with the truth, tuning out anyone who reminds us of it and gets us too close to it.
Galatians 5:19-21 (The Message)
19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness;
20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; 21 the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
Please don’t. I can’t take any more. There must be something on my DVR.