Two things have come into conversation with me today, one is truth and the other is guilt, just a few thoughts on each subject. “You can’t handle the truth”, you might recognize that line spoken by Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men” and I think in most cases it’s really accurate, we can’t handle the truth! So many things are rolling through my head as I say that… truth about the politician you elected and trust the safety of your life and your country with only to find out he is inept, the pastor you listen to and have entrusted the safety of your soul and your spiritual health to realize he isn’t free of the chains of sin himself (or herself), the doctor you place the health of your body in his hands who you find out has given you the wrong prescription and your loved one ends up in the hospital due to his mistake (really happened in this household), but the main thing that you won’t accept the truth about is the person whose teeth you brush every morning, yes that person is you.
When a person asks you to “tell the truth” about something that concerns them, it is not the truth they are seeking for you to give them, it is a confirmation that what they are doing is the right thing to do! I often find myself in the situation of listening, and the struggle in my mind is this, if I tell them the truth and they do what ever it is I have advised them against, then they will be angry with me and I will possibly lose their friendship!
I will digress for a moment to say this, if you have to ask me if a person is right for you then chances are you already know they are not or you wouldn’t have to ask.
I have spoken with more than one person today that is being riddled with guilt and in both cases it is undeserved! How is it that you let others decide your guilt or innocence in a matter and why you are willing to accept their judgment as the truth without examining it for yourself? Guilt never travels alone he always brings shame along with him so you get a double whammy! I think we all know right from wrong and if you are really wrong in a matter you know it so I’m not talking about being guilt free in the case of an outright horrible deed, I am speaking of the guilt we feel when a person isn’t pleased with us for whatever reason.
That type of guilt is one thing I have always had to deal with, I grew up trying to please everyone and when it didn’t happen I always thought there must be something wrong with me. If I could take back all the extra things I would do, or favors I did for anyone who asked, extra school work, being nice to people who were not nice to me, I would do it, but it isn’t possible. The only way I can make it count is to tell you to 1. Make sure you are right in the eyes of God and then 2. Please yourself first. When you are on a flight the attendant will tell you that in case of an emergency to put the oxygen mask that comes down on yourself first and then your child, why is that? Because if you don’t take care of yourself and you become incapacitated then you and your child are both in danger, that makes sense doesn’t it?
I realized a long time ago that I couldn’t be perfect and everyone was not going to like me, yes as hard as that is to believe that about sweet, lovable me, it’s true. After all we know that Jesus actually was perfect and yet a lot of people were displeased with Him, they were so displeased that they actually hung Him on a cross to die! He was so perfect that as He was dying He asked His Father to forgive those people because they didn’t know what they were doing, or to whom they were doing it. Well no doubt I haven’t gotten that far as yet, I still get fierce feelings about people that I know are being conniving, or who manipulate people while getting by like a rat in a cheese factory, but that is my cross to bear, right?
Is there a solution to the matter? I think first thing is to forgive yourself for not being the perfect Ken or Barbie doll you wish you were, forgive yourself for not having the diplomacy of Dale Carnegie, or the smarts and wisdom of Solomon or Dr. Phil, for not being the perfect mate like Ward and June Cleaver or the perfect dad like Father Knows Best, you are a simple human but so is everyone else. I was having lunch with a perfectly beautiful lady and was admiring her perfectly made up eyes and mouth feeling a little jealous when she smiled a big smile at me and there, hung up in her perfect white teeth, was a big piece of green spinach and guess what, I didn’t even tell her! Somehow it made her more like me and I enjoyed my own lunch without worrying that I would say or do something that would prove my unworthiness to be in the company of such beauty! I am laughing as I write this and of course you know my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek! Now let’s all say this together, Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so, little ones (and imperfect, guilty, untruthful people such as myself) to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. I get a fresh start every day because His mercies are new every morning and I am cleansed by the blood, that He shed to give me eternal life!
Bonnie Raittt sings, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t”, I say if I aim to please you and I keep missing, I quit aiming and thank God that He loves me just the way I am!