If truth is the path to freedom, why do we become so adept at avoiding it? I have observed many people ruin and frustrate their lives and the lives of loved ones by simply not telling each other the truth.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32, NASB).
When we allow ourselves to keep secrets, believe lies and harbor offenses, life becomes more of an illusion than an experience of reality. Ultimately we create barriers. We hurt ourselves and the people in our lives. Most often the ones we hurt the most are the ones who love us the most. Here are a few of the reasons I believe we avoid telling each other the truth:
REASON #1: We’re afraid of driving loved ones further away. In some cases, the only hope for salvaging a strained or devastated relationship is a “wake-up call.” Truth-avoidance only creates greater emotional distance.
REASON #2: We’re afraid of making a bad situation worse. No coach ever gained a better football team by always patting players on the back. No parent ever raised a godly child by ignoring his or her vices. No spouse ever cultivated a strong marriage without facing the music now and then. Fear keeps us from engaging the conflicts in our relationships and, as a result, the conflicts just get more complicated and intense.
REASON #3: We’re afraid of what the truth will look like once it is revealed. Often our efforts at shielding our spouses or co-workers from the truth are, on a deeper level, our attempts to shield ourselves. This fear enables our spouse or child, our employee or co-worker to continue on a destructive path.
REASON #4: We’re afraid of jeopardizing the relationship. What relationship? A relationship without truth is no relationship at all.
REASON #5: We’re afraid of having our relationship “image” tarnished. In appearing to keep a “good name,” many couples not only avoid the truth; they deny it even when it is staring them down. You can hide an infection with a bandage, but you cannot stop it from spreading that way. The only hope for a cure is an honest examination, an accurate evaluation and an aggressively purposeful treatment. So it is with the issues that divide families, companies and communities.
“The truth will set you free.”