The Truth will set you free (February 2018)

If you go to Langley, Virginia, where the CIA has its headquarters, in that building is a wall with the CIA motto inscribed on it.  That motto comes from the Bible, John 8.32:  ‘And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’  People who see conspiracies everywhere view this as an important motto for an agency whose role is to uncover hidden truths.  Jesus talks to his followers about truth which breaks people free from sin.  We are all slaves of our failings, which is part of being human.  We all fall short of God’s standards, and if we are to break away from that, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives, then we will know what true freedom is.  And that freedom includes from the restrictions and oppressions that society impose on us.

Speaking the truth can feel easier to do if it is in line with the tide of general opinion.  If the truth seems to go against the tide of what most people think, then it can feel a great deal more difficult to speak up about.  And if speaking the truth causes upset, or puts us into an awkward position with others, that can make it hard to do.  But that truth will still, always, set us free, as Jesus said.  The alternative to speaking out is not telling the truth, keeping it secret, or telling a lie.  None of those is a good option, even if short term it might feel a bit easier to do.  

A few weeks ago, Oprah Winfrey moved many people with a powerful speech, given when she was accepting an award at the Golden Globe awards.  She said, ‘speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.’  She was referring to the ‘Me Too’ campaign that has grown in momentum over recent months, to raise the profile of what many women have had to go through because of abuse or sexual harassment.

A combination of shame and a fear of not being believed, had conspired to silence many thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of people (mainly women) from speaking up about the unjust or humiliating ways others behaved towards them.  But after allegations surfaced about Harvey Weinstein last autumn, an increasing number of women were bold enough to declare ‘Me Too’, that the same thing had happened to them.  Soon the numbers were so great, that it was not so hard to stand up and speak the truth about suffering from such traumatic experiences. 

This ‘Me Too’ campaign has brought strong feelings to the surface many strong for many, and so here at Holy Trinity we are going to be acknowledging that, and drawing on God’s healing power, in a service of reflection which will be held on Friday 23rd February at 7.00pm.  Please do come to this, whether or not you have been directly affected, and do please encourage others to do so as well.  

I agree with Oprah that speaking the truth is the most powerful tool we have.   The Truth we have in the Church is the Gospel – that Jesus came to live among us, that he suffered, died, was buried and rose again to save us.  That Truth is for all eternity, and that is ultimately what sets all of us free, forever.  Let us never shy away from speaking the Truth.

Tina Upton


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