There’s this wonderful sentence that has stuck in my mind recently: ‘If the truth were true’. I read it in a book about the many gifts we receive in baptism1 and one chapter suggested that we should live as if we really believe the truth. This started me off thinking what I would do if the truth were true. I found it a joy to ponder this question. It really helps me throughout the day to remind myself of all the gifts that God has given me, and his continual support.
As always, one thought leads to another. This particular sentence of course first leads to the question ‘But what is true?’ And my first answer is: ‘God loves me’, which then of course immediately leads to the next question: ‘What is love?’. Many books and songs have been written on that subject, so apparently that is really a very difficult question, yet I think we all have a pretty good idea of what love is. Just think of good examples of people who love you: they admire you, they lighten up when they see you, they accept you as you are, they help you if needed, and listen with an open interest in what you think. Also they believe in your qualities, and make you feel confident to try new things, and they still love you if you fail. This is just what first comes to mind for me, I am pretty sure there is a lot more to say on the topic. But it is useful to make the word ‘love’ a bit more concrete, so that we then know better what God also wants to be for us.
Another truth is that God created us. And not just that, but He created us in his image. Just think of how amazing that is: God created billions of people, and who knows how many angels, who all have an individual personality, and can say after him: ‘I am’. This gives me a great sense of stability. Whatever happens, I am here, created by God in this very place and time, and even for eternity, and He has wanted me, and affirms my position.
Then I started thinking about what it means to be like God (because we are created in his image). God said: ‘Let there be light’. Can we do that? Er.. well, yes!? We can speak the truth, and clarify things, that is a way of bringing light. How about giving life? Just think of the effect that our attitude can have on each other. If we feel welcome, we will flourish. So we can let others flourish by making them feel welcome, and being interested in that unique person2. Just try it out, and see what happens if you really listen to for example the chattering of your children or your grumpy neighbor. I assure you it is a joy to see how they will lighten up.
So this is what I’ve come up with so far. Due to the nature of this theme (and also due to a bit of an unexpected deadline) this text is very incomplete. But that is not at all a problem, I think it is just a great invitation to you all to step in, and also enjoy wondering during the coming summer what we would do if the truth were true.
- Take the plunge by Timothy Radcliffe
- The opposite is unfortunately true too, I think this might be the reason why Jesus forbids us to call anyone a fool: discarding a person is really extremely harmful. See Matthew 5:22.