Monday, November 3, 2014

You can’t handle the truth!

(Submitted By Kerry Patton)
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” Ephesians 6:14

“You can’t handle the truth!” 
I love the quote above.  You may recall it from Jack Nicolson’s rant as General Jessup in the motion picture “A Few Good Men.”  His point is that many would rather hide their heads in the sand than face life as it really is. 

While for many this may resonate as true, for many others life is not a matter of not being able to handle the truth.  It is a matter of never learning the whole truth, or following a lie and believing it to be true.

The truth about a belt... 
Not long ago, I needed a new brown belt.  I liked my brown belt, but it was way past time to purchase a new one.  The belt was a laminate of leather and man made materials and as it had aged it began to break.  And I wanted to purchase a new one, but it just kept not working out. Schedules being what they are, I never could seem to get to the store and purchase a new belt.  I just kept wearing the old one.

One day, I had what I thought was a stroke of genius, and I used staples to repair the places that had broken.  The repair worked famously, and the breaks were in places that were hidden when I wore the belt.  The staples would keep the belt together until I could get a new belt…I hoped.

Oh my goodness…had anyone known that I had stapled my brown belt I would have been so embarrassed!  Had the staples failed and my belt come apart in public…Oh my!  I would have been mortified!!  So every day, I would look at the cracks in that old belt, check the staples and hope they held one more day…and every day I said to myself “I really need to get a new belt.”  And every day, I hoped no one could see the cracks I was hiding.

One day, I finally got to the store and bought me a new leather belt!  I couldn’t wait to put on the new belt.  No longer would I have to worry about the staples.  No longer would I have to be concerned about the cracks showing.  I remember tossing that old belt in the trash.  What a relief it was to be rid of it!

The Belt of Truth
Once, I was trying to encourage a friend of mine who felt she would never get ahead in life.  She had made some really bad life-affecting mistakes through the years, and felt like her past disqualified her from ever becoming all that she felt the Bible was teaching her to be.  She felt like her life had lots of embarrassing cracks…cracks that she had managed to patch here and there…and for the most part, keep hidden from the rest of the world.  She lived in fear of people finding out who she had been.
I told her that she needed to ignore the voices of the past and pay attention to the Truth of God for her life.  She insisted that what the voices of the past were saying was the truth, but I disagreed.  I told her that while her past was true back then…and was certainly a part of her testimony, it was most certainly NOT the ultimate truth for her life.  She asked me what I meant and I sang a very simple verse to her:  “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!  I once was lost, but now am found.  Was blind, but now I see!”

The truth is that every one of us has a past that we’d rather keep hidden.  Every one of us has made really stupid mistakes, and carry with us the cracks and scars of those mistakes.  We all have those moments when the memories of who we used to be creep up on us and haunt our minds.  So we are tempted to patch up the facades and staple the tears, and pretend that no one can see our vulnerabilities.

But the ultimate truth is that every one of us are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ!  The ultimate truth is that because of our relationship with Jesus, by faith, our portion is not shame and condemnation, but forgiveness and eternal reward!

Speaking to the Christians at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul encouraged his readers to “stand firm, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” but the truth he is directing them to gird themselves with is not their truth…but that of the Lord Jesus Christ!  That which tells of redemption, of grace, and of love and life!

Scripture to claim: 

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

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