October 22nd, 2005

No bullshit

Loving the truth

...they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

—2 Thessalonians 2:10

Own up. Face it. Stop kidding yourself. These are some of the things I find myself consistently wanting to say to others. It absolutely gets under my skin when I have the sense people are deluding themselves, and at least doubly so when they insist on expressing those delusions to the rest of us (be it for attention, approval, persuasion, or simply an inability or unwillingness to hush). Expressing a thing doesn't make it more true, regardless of the passion, artistry, or conviction behind it.

I've tended to think that my being so bothered by this is impatient and self-righteous, and indeed, it'd be dangerous for me to dismiss that concern. The truth pointed to by this verse, however, is that refusing to love the truth is destructive, and ultimately lethal. Paul writes specifically of those who reject the gospel in the last days, but it seems to me that the principle applies more broadly.

Watching people delude themselves is like watching them cut themselves again and again. One certainly wants to be caring, patient, and kind, but in those moments, love brings forth the immediate, protective desire for them to stop it—if not love for the other person, then love for the truth itself (and in reality, the latter is fully inclusive of the former). This takes precedence over social niceties one might otherwise observe.

I'm trying to be better about calling people to the truth instead of just holding things inside and being frustrated. I hope the people in my life love me enough to do the same. That also means filtering and dismissing a lot more voices—there are mountains of bullshit out there, and I can't take on every occurrence without spreading myself too thin and becoming embittered. I'm not called to be Don Quixote, tilting at every windmill of delusion I hear or read.

The best thing I can do is love the truth, both in principle and in the Person of Jesus Christ. That will go a long way in taking care of the rest.