“We must learn to tell the truth, beginning with what we tell ourselves and say about ourselves.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 28, 2023
Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. Psalm 119:29, NLT
Honesty is one of the core values we are taught as children, and as parents teach our own children. And at young ages, the lies are typically quite innocent and relatively harmless: “I didn’t take their toy.” “Yes, I ate my vegetables.” “No, I don’t know who left that out.” Yet as we grow, if we haven’t learned the value of honesty, as the stakes are raised our lives can become a tangled web of confusion, pain, and hurt.
Simply put, we must learn to tell the truth, beginning with what we tell ourselves and say about ourselves. Culturally, this is often presented as a form of self-help or positivity. Speak kindly to yourself, tell yourself you really aren’t that bad, it wasn’t your fault, and if they knew what you were going through, they’d understand. The list goes on and on.
Today, however, I invite you to embrace a different form of truth-telling. Yes, kindness to yourself is good and right. It is important to learn to see ourselves as God sees us, beloved children, who are known and loved. Yet if this is the only muscle we ever flex, our spiritual lives will be anemic and underdeveloped. And in truth, most of us are far too kind to ourselves, overly assured of the goodness of our intentions and the rightness of our motives. Why? Because it’s painful to acknowledge and accept the brokenness and twisted desires that still remain inside us all!
Today, Psalm 119 exhorts us not to lie to ourselves, and it is good to remember that we can lie in multiple directions. It is a lie to say you are unlovable and unworthy of affection. Yet it is also a lie to assume your innocence and that others are always to blame!
As a spiritual practice, I invite you to ask yourself a question my pastor recently posed to me, offering it as essential to our spiritual growth: “How have I contributed to the brokenness of this situation?” No matter how lopsided or unequal the fault may be, no single individual (or group, community, or political party!) is ever responsible for 100% of the blame.
We always bear a portion of the blame, and part of the secret to our growth in Christ is to seek this out, for as we do, we learn to live honest lives and tell ourselves the truth.
Father, we long to grow and become more and more like your son. Whenever we hide our faults and live by lies, we stall out as disciples and miss opportunities for your healing touch. Give us the courage to tell the truth to ourselves and, most importantly, to live in the light of your perfect truth. Amen.
Ask yourself this question at the end of every day for the next week: “How have I contributed to the brokenness I encountered today?”
Shane & Shane: I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130)
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