"I think she knew she had cancer. She refused to see a doctor about it because she feared hearing the diagnosis." Those words were spoke by a family member after "she" died. And, yes, she had cancer. She somehow knew the truth, but she was still afraid of hearing it.
I understand how that woman thought. I have felt the tug of bad things happening in my body, yet preferred denial to finding out the truth. Forget, "the truth will set you free." Sometimes the truth seems so scary! Fortunately, I was able to face the truth when I did have cancer and we caught it so early that I'm doing fine now. Still, I have compassion for the fear of that woman.
What happens, though, when the truth we need to face looks like a chainsaw threatening to cut us apart? What happens when the truth runs smack dab into our traditions? I have seen this scenario over and over and different people handle it different ways. I have lost track of the number of times we had to measure our Stone Ridge traditions against the truth we found in Scripture. The truth was sometimes painful and threatening, but it always...ALWAYS...set us free!
We did away with some of our traditional gatherings because the truth freed us to look at the community we are trying to reach and realize those gatherings were counter-productive. We changed our church leadership style, because the old style didn't measure up with what we found in the Bible. We even changed our name when we realized that the old name was more of a stumbling block than a stepping stone when we tried to talk with people about Jesus. In each of those cases, we were set free by the truth.
Everywhere we turn, though, we can encounter people who want to twist the truth into something to bind us rather than free us. Politicians, religious leaders, even Hollywood can find ways to take a small nugget of truth and morph it into a lie meant to take us captive. So, how do we learn to study the Word of God and dig out the truth, thus filtering out the bondage? That's our subject this weekend at Stone Ridge Church. Can't be there? Catch the podcast!