Practice Truth

In the Gospel of Thomas, found in the Nag Hammadi desert in 1945, there is an exchange between Jesus and his students.  The students sound like they are longing for transformation when they ask Jesus, “Do you want us to fast?  How shall we pray?  Should we give offerings?  From what foods must we abstain?”[1]  How do we become better at living into the laws of God, is what I hear in their questions.  Tell us what is needed in our lives to be more like you.

Jesus’ answer is startling.  “Stop lying. Do not do what you hate.”  Where do you lie?  Where is falseness giving birth to anxiety and fear?  One of Jesus’ stronger messages while he was here on earth is, fear not.  Lying gives fear a space in one’s being.  If you are riddled by fear, take a look at where you are living your lies, take a look for where this destructive, non-healthy, way of living has taken root.

Jesus’ second rule is to not do what you hate.  We betray ourselves when do what we hate.  Dr. Jordan B. Peterson writes “If you betray yourself, if you say untrue things, it you act out a lie, you weaken your character.  [See that these two rules are connected – don’t lie and don’t do what you hate.]  If you have a weak character, then adversity will mow you down when it appears, as it will, inevitably.”[2]  As Christians, we know that adversity comes.  Try doing something good for your community and see how much adversity moves in against you.  Evil does not want good to win any ground.  Paul writes to the Corinthian church and tells them of this very thing.  “A wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (I Cor. 16:9).

Take a small step toward speaking truth and practice telling the truth.  You will know when you don’t as somewhere in your body, there will be a tightening, a feeling of a mis-step.  It is a step towards reducing your fear and anxiety.  It is a step towards loving and caring for yourself.  My hunch is this small step will connect you to where you will be invited to stop doing what you hate, for truth does not dwell in doing what you hate.

I encourage you to pray and meditate on these two statements for the next week or month.  Take these two small statements into your mind, your heart, and your body.  May God be with you, in front of you, behind you, on your left and on your right.  God with you.

 

[1] Gospel of Thomas, Logion 6.

[2] Jordon B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to Chaos, (Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Random House Canada, 2018), 212.

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