Truth is held up as something of great value, yet all, or almost all, of us from time to time avoid speaking truth. For some people, it is for personal gain. For most of us, it is because we are afraid of a consequence. “Dear, does this dress make me look fat?” What partner wants to answer that question truthfully if it is the wrong answer? “Am I treating you fairly?” What do you say when your boss asks you a question like that?
In the gospel reading for this coming Sunday, Jesus speaks truth to his hometown, and they try to kill him by throwing him off a cliff. His story reminds us that truth can have many different consequences: sometimes it opens a door to healing, renewal, or simply good decisions. People who consistently speak and act truthfully build up trust and respect by their peers. Truth opens the door to new knowledge. And truth can lead to painful consequences. Descriobe the behaviour of the American military and be labelled anti-American. Raise concerns about aspects of a questionable industrial project, and be labelled a wacko environmentalist or worse. Talk about some of the harmful behaviour of the Israeli government and military, and be labelled anti-Semitic, or worse. Share a belief that the world goes around the sun and be placed under house arrest for the rest of your life like Galileo. It has always been dangerous to speak the truth when that truth threatened the position of someone with power or a gun.
So Truth has many children, some good to experience, and some not. If fear of people with power causes us to hesitate to speak truth, may the Spirit help us find the courage and wisdom we need.