As a student of theology, “truth” had been both an area of deep reflection as well as a pursuit for me. What is truth? How do I apprehend this truth? And, what do I do with this truth once apprehended?
“And you shall know the truth and the truth [that you know] shall make you free” (John 8:32).
This is not a post about epistemology per se but one about the power and freedom and sometimes humiliation that come with standing in the truth that you know. One of the hardest truths to discover and accept is the truth about yourself. Our natural tendency leans towards thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. Consequently, when we come across truths about ourselves that carry with them varying degrees of shame, exclusion, danger, ugliness or otherness, we tend to want to subvert or cover that truth.
Experience has taught me that such covering and subverting leads to self-loathing, self imprisonment – holding self hostage behind bars made of other people’s evaluation – and self-erasure. Invariably, you find yourself, compromising; taking on the opinions of others; becoming unsure and tentative; feeling that the real you is not good enough or lovable enough. You relinquish volition and you are led by others. If this sounds like enslavement to you, then that is exactly the picture I am trying to paint because that is what an inauthentic life leads to; whether you feel the need to perform class privilege or hide other areas of your identity or become silent on issues about which you are passionate.
The truth is that the people about whom you are worried, have their own untold truths. You are never seeing a complete picture. Hopefully you would realize that being tethered to them and their opinions of you is exactly what is holding you back. Losing them is a price worth paying to stand in your truth. That is what makes you free. My own thoughts on gender, sexuality, poverty, religion and politics have been expensive. They costed me friendships, associations, employment opportunities, relatives but my freedom is worthy far more than those.
The pursuit of truth is too great a prize to apprehend for me to ever be caught living a lie, and so, above all else, I strive to be as authentic (strong,vulnerable, benevolent, malevolent, functional and broken) as possible. What are you doing with the truth that you know about yourself? It is that truth [that you know & stand in] that will set you free.