Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Truth

Truth (noun):
  • The state or quality of being loyal to someone or something - faithfulness, fidelity;
  • Conformity to fact or reality - correctness, accuracy;
  • That which is real, in a deeper sense; spiritual or ‘genuine’ reality;
  • Something acknowledged to be true; an axiom, or generally accepted statement.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ("TRC") was set up in South Africa to assist the country's transition from apartheid to a full, free democracy. Both victims of apartheid, and perpetrators of atrocities from both sides, could give testimony. Perpetrators of violence could also request amnesty from prosecution. The aim of the Commission was to create an environment where people felt safe to admit what they had actually done. Hopefully, by doing so, the whole country could own up to its past, come together, and move forward. Among those granted amnesty were the perpetrators of the St James' Church Massacre.
Prime Minister Rudd's Apology to the stolen generation, while not of the same nation-defining magnitude as the TRC, is another attempt to tell the truth: to confess reality, admit to what really happened.
The gospel of Christ crucified both commands us to be truthful, and gives us the environment wherein we can be truthful. The deepest reality of the whole universe is that Jesus is Lord; we are not. But that truth immediately leads to another: we have not been faithful ("true") Jesus as Lord, but have treated ourselves as lord. We have rejected the one who is the way, the truth and the life, and are living a lie, a fantasy, out of step with reality. No wonder we live lives characterised by lies, death, and absence of God.
But in Christ, God himself has taken that death, that God-forsaken-ness, into himself. So we can confess the truth of our lies, without fear of the consequences of those lies. And we can also live lives of radical truthfulness, confessing our sins to one another, and forgiving each other as God forgave us. If the politicians - usually (unfairly?) caricatured as habitual liars - can seek the truth in the TRC and the Apology, how much more should we, who have the truth incarnate!
Let's tell the truth - individually, and as churches. Let's admit that Jesus is Lord; we are not; and admit to the pain we cause God, and each other, when we live the lie.

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