Wednesday, January 23, 2013

These Words

There do exist some things which would be best
forgotten, if indeed we could forget.
That being beyond our skill, we let them rest
beneath our heedless words; unseen, and yet
the shape beneath the surface. There are also
things that we would like to remember, but
that is impossible as well. We grow
a smooth forgetful pearl before the cut
of sand can dig too deep and make us change.
We may have spent the bulk of our life in search
of a way to carve, or maybe stretch the range
of the forgotten, until suddenly we lurch
awake at each familiar grain of sand,
of which there are many, between the sea and land.


"The truth will set you free."

It sounds sounds so pretty, but since when does the world work that way?

The truth didn't set Oedipus free. It didn't set Pandora free.

And tasting from the tree of knowing sure as hell didn't set Adam and Eve free.

"The truth will set you free."

This is not an insight into the nature of reality, but a greeting card sentiment; one of those pretty little things we say when we can't handle the truth.

Truth is brutal, and there's a reason why we avoid it. It will destroy us if we let it.

And yet, here we have this crazy promise: "If you remain in these words of mine, then you will be my true disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

The Pharisees response to him was something of a joke: "We are children of Abraham, and have never been enslaved to anyone."

This might have been more convincing if they hadn't been right in the middle of the Feast of Booths. You know: the big yearly celebration that was supposed to remind them of their humble origins as escaped slaves wandering around in the desert.

The Pharisees were convinced that having the truth automatically set them free, and Jesus exposed this for the big fat lie that it was. (Paul goes into this in more detail in Romans 2.)

"But if you remain in these words of mine..."

Under ordinary circumstances, truth is more likely to destroy you than to set you free, but there's something wildly powerful in those red letter words.

I feel it. I'm experiencing it. Something crazy is happening, and those words are changing everything for me.

As the words of Jesus start to burn inside me, as I slowly learn to live in his kingdom of grace, the scales are falling off my eyes... but more importantly, I'm finding that I don't need those scales anymore.

My need to shield my eyes and hide is melting away, and by a strange miracle, the truth really is setting me free.

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