Telling the truth and being right
In June, my daughter was married at St. Mary’s Standon - the most glorious occasion with hundreds of family and friends celebrating with us. With conviction they both said their vows, ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part.’ No small thing for the groom in particular, as his future father-in-law (me) was taking the service, but you could tell they both believed and meant every word they were saying.
I wish things were always as black and white as this. In Matthew 5 v 37 Jesus tells us: ‘All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.’ Being truthful, which means believing and then doing what you say, is something we understand and in most cases can choose to fulfil. At times this can be costly and often not easy. As a young man and before I committed my life to following Jesus, it seemed easier to tell lies at crucial moments. Once, having ignored a curfew whilst playing for the England Youth team in Norway, I persistently lied about what I had been doing as if lying would help me. It didn’t! Becoming a Christian marked a desire in me to change, the turning point of my life.
However, telling the truth is not where this story ends. Most of us believe we are being truthful but telling the truth and being right are not quite the same are they? As a younger man I always thought I was right, now as the years pass I wonder if I am ever right! Let me explain what I mean: my wife Jill often asks me what I think of a dress she is trying on; my reply might include asking her what she thinks, and then to reply accordingly. I have no idea really. Am I telling the truth? I am telling the truth but I have no idea what is right.
The EU question was not quite the same as commenting on a dress but equally challenging. By the time you read this newsletter we will have voted to ‘remain in’ or ‘leave’ the EU. It has been incredible watching clever people like David Cameron and Boris Johnson and many others come up with completely different answers to the same questions. Are you confident you voted the right way? It was Solomon in the Old Testament who could ask God for anything, who asked for wisdom. The wisdom to listen more deeply and get things right. I remain uncertain about my EU vote but I know that following Jesus and being inspired to live and love as He did is right! What do you think?
Alan Comfort, Rector