Reality Is Our Friend

June 19, 2016 No Comments »
Reality Is Our Friend

By David Faust

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.26.19 PMWhen listing God’s attributes, it’s common to mention his love, justice, wrath, and grace. Here’s an attribute we often overlook: God is honest.

Honesty is simply another word for truthfulness, and truth is simply another word for reality. God is always honest with us. There’s nothing fake about him—no pretense or fraud. Because he is our Creator and our sovereign authority, the Lord defines reality. Without fail he always tells us the truth, and he does this for our own good.

When I eat breakfast in a restaurant, I would like to order eggs smothered with cheese, bacon, and sausage gravy with hash browns and biscuits on the side. Reality kicks in, though, when I realize that such a heavy breakfast represents most of the calories and fat grams adults in my age bracket should consume in an entire day. I order the oatmeal instead.

When I go to the doctor, I don’t like to hear bad news about my blood pressure or my weight, but the doctor’s job isn’t to tell me what I want to hear. The doctor’s job is to define reality—for my own good.

God told Jeremiah to go through the streets of Jerusalem and see if he could find “one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth” (Jeremiah 5:1). Today a lot of people dispute the very existence of absolute truth, and most of us tend to grant ourselves considerable leeway when it comes to total honesty; yet at the same time we demand authenticity and genuineness from others. We’ll put up with all kinds of nonsense and justify it by saying, “Well, at least he’s being honest about it”—as if someone could be an honest embezzler, an honest thief, or an honest adulterer! Do we really appreciate honesty, or do we find ways to skirt around it?

Can We Handle the Truth?

You offended a friend, and she confronts you. Do you become angry and defensive, or do you take her words to heart and apologize?

A coworker shares an off-color joke. Do you smile approvingly? walk away and say nothing? speak to your coworker in private and challenge his choice of humor?

Your spouse comes home with a new haircut and asks, “How do you like it?” How honest will you be with your response?

Your company is hiring, and you must call the prospective new employee’s references. Can you count on the references to be honest about the prospect’s strengths and weaknesses? Or if you’re the one providing the reference, how transparent can you be without hurting your friend’s chances to get the job (and without putting yourself in legal jeopardy)? Someone offered the following tongue-in-cheek suggestions to say when giving someone a job reference: “If you knew him the way I know him, you’d think of him the way I think of him.” Or, “If you can get this person to work for you, you will be very fortunate indeed.”

Honest to God

How do we react when God, like a responsible physician, speaks to us honestly about our spiritual condition? Do we welcome his counsel, or do we “suppress the truth” because we prefer our wicked ways (Romans 1:18)?

Truth liberates. Reality is our friend. And even when we don’t like what he says, so is God.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

Daily Readings

June 20


1 Kings 17:17-24

A Man of God

June 21


Psalm 52

Judging Deceit

June 22


Psalm 63:1-5, 11

Liars and Truth Speakers

June 23


Isaiah 59:12-16

God Hates Injustice

June 24


Jeremiah 5:1-5

Utter Contempt for Truth

June 25


Amos 5:10-15

Seek Good and Truth

June 26


Romans 1:18-32

Willful Ignorance Leads to Disaster

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