Not Everything Is True

I was reading John to get ready for our Wednesday night class last week and got to the story where Judas is angry because Mary “wasted” expensive ointment on the feet of Jesus. He argued that the money could have been used for the poor, instead.

John 12:6 stood out to me as the narrator gives us a peek into Judas’ heart: “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put in it.”

Judas said he cared about the poor. Judas actually cared about himself.

There’s an important principle: what we say is not always what we mean. Sometimes people don’t tell the truth.

This is obvious. Of course people don’t tell the truth! Lies abound. What’s the joke? How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving! But here’s the thing: if we’re not aware of this principle, we might do it ourselves.

I can say, “I am speaking the truth in love.” But that statement does not guarantee that I am either speaking truthfully or lovingly. Sometimes that label (“truth in love”) has been slapped on statements that are decidedly not true. Other times the problem comes with the attitude. It may be true, but it is certainly not acting in love. What makes this even harder is that true things that need to be said because of love are sometimes very hard and very painful to say or to hear.

So before you say that you speak truth in love, take a moment and make sure that’s really what’s going on.