Speaking the Truth from the Heart
Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
My daughter, Kara, has always been one to speak the truth. Sometimes this has been a little awkward. For example, one afternoon when she was four years old, Kara and I were working the yard together. The man who lived across the street came over for a chat. He was a stately senior citizen who sported an impressively full head of pure white hair. As he and I conversed, Kara gazed intently at him. Finally she burst out, "You are so old!" As I gasped in horror, my neighbor said gently, "Yes, I do look old. Don't I?" Kara seemed satisfied and went back to her work, while I spouted all kinds of apologies, none of which seemed to matter to my amused neighbor who wasn't put off by Kara's plain speech.
Today, my truth-speaking daughter is eighteen years old. That little girl is now an adult, a wonderful young woman of whom I am extremely proud. Kara stills calls 'em as she sees 'em. To be sure, with age she has learned to be more tactful. But Kara still risks saying things because she believes them in her heart, even if her pronouncements are not always politically correct. I admire both her insight and her guts.
Kara is in the midst of applying to college. She intends to major in a combination of communications and politics. Oh, how I hope she is able to pursue her dream! Don't we need people in politics who are courageous enough to speak the truth? Yet, I am well aware of the pitfalls that await her. The postmodern spirit of today's university minimizes or denies truth itself. Success in politics seems increasingly disconnected from truth and more dependent on clever misrepresentation. On this day when my daughter becomes an adult, I pray that she will always speak the truth with a sincere heart. I pray, further, that she will find a way to help others in positions of power and influence be truth-speakers as well. This is a high calling, indeed.
And also a high challenge. It can feel overwhelming. But telling the truth isn't something we do simply because it's right. It also honors the God of truth and reflects his character. Moreover, according to Psalm 15:1-2, those who speak the truth are able to enter God's sanctuary. Their minds and hearts are tuned for intimacy with God.
There is an inseparable connection between God and speaking the truth. On the one hand, God helps us say what is true by the power of his Spirit (see, for example, Mark 13:11; John 16:13-14). On the other hand, when we say what is true, even when it is unpopular or risky, we draw near to the God of truth.
So, on this day I am praying for my adult daughter, that she will always be someone who speaks the truth so that she might "worship in God's sanctuary" throughout her life and so that she might communicate the truth in a world that so desperately needs it. I am also praying for everyone who reads this reflection on Psalm 15, that you also might speak the truth from a sincere heart.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to speak the truth from your heart? What hinders you from such truth speaking? How do you understand the relationship between speaking the truth and God?
PRAYER: Gracious God, you are indeed the God of truth. You are the truth, and all that is true flows from you. Thus, the more I live my life truthfully, the more I speak and live the truth, the more I am aligning myself with you, the more I am able to worship you and enjoy your presence. Help me, O Lord, to be a person of truth in all that I do and say.
[As I pray for my daughter, you can, of course, join in. But I would encourage you to pray for those in your life who need God's help to be people of truth.]
Today, Lord, as we celebrate the life of my daughter, I pray for her. I thank you for her deep commitment to the truth. I thank you for her boldness and articulateness. Help her, I pray, always to be a woman of truth. As she learns how to better communicate in this generation, may her commitment to truth be unwavering. As she encounters challenges even to the very existence of truth, help her to think clearly, critically, and creatively. I don't know, Lord, how you plan to use her gift of truth-speaking. I leave that to you. But I pray that, no matter what and how, Kara will develop and use this gift for the sake of your kingdom and glory. As she speaks the truth from a sincere heart, may she always know the joy of drawing near to you in worship.
Finally, I pray for all who read this reflection and also for myself, that we might be people who speak the truth with sincere hearts. Give us wisdom. Give us courage. Strengthen us by your Spirit to be people of truth. Amen.
P.S. – If you are interested in learning more about what it means to speak and live the truth, I've written a whole book on the subject: Dare to Be True: Living in the Freedom of Complete Honesty.
P.P.S. – Just for fun, here's a link to my favorite photos of Kara and me.