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  • Katie Smith

Truth or Love

I recently saw the movie, Jesus Revolution and walked away pleasantly surprised. Most films with the name Jesus in the title are either hauntingly judgemental or unrealistically cheesy. This one, however, pictured a balanced diet of hard truth and perfect love.

Jesus Revolution grapples with the idea of Truth and Love in the same way we all do. What is truth? What is love? Is it unloving to tell the truth? Is it loving to be wholly honest? What if we lie to ourselves to survive? The plain and practical thinkers never need to ask such questions, but those artistic-minded folks will point out that we are all on a quest to answer this essential question. Even if you don't realize you're on the journey, you are still playing the game: truth or love but you call it truth or dare.

I have never really known anyone who was involved in the 1970s revival as seen in Jesus Revolution. And I don't know much about the hippie culture itself, except what's universally portrayed in style, lingo, and music. But I do know that peace and love are the universal bylaws--aren't those attributes the same for most meaningful organizations?

As with any new grouping, time tells if there is truth behind the intent to bring love and peace to the world. The courting phase captures our hearts, while the calendar clarifies our concerns. Of course this doesn't mean that anyone who dates for a short time will have a failed marriage, or that those who wait years before wedding will remain married. On the other hand, it does help us understand how truth coexists within our overtly emotional experiences.

In the movie, a theatrical hippie turned Jesus-lover, Lonnie, begins with a touching and simple testimony: God's power and love redeemed his life formerly lost to drugs. Later though, things become more complicated. After an intense spiritual healing on his part during his premiere preaching gig, he yearns for the power of God in himself, rather than God himself.

If we fall in love with God rather than walk by faith with God, we will desire the feeling of falling again. And falling doesn't take any effort. We can fall in and out of love any time. Faith, though, requires intention--loving God enough to obey Him, even when it's not what we want. Falling is a thoughtless misstep. Faith is a conscious decision.

Oswald Chambers spoke of this emotional attraction among spiritual awakenings or "inspirations"--

"If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are becoming obsessed with the moments when God did come and speak with us, and we are insisting that He do it again. But what God wants us to do is to 'walk by faith'" (Chambers, May 1).

A famous leader, Pontius Pilate, once asked the same important life question that Lonnie asked: "What is truth?" (John 18:38) And Jesus replied, "the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the Truth. Everyone on the side of Truth listens to me.” It is not "our truth" that sets us free from the confusion, pain, and brokenness in the world, but "The Truth." Truth always sets us free and places our feet on a new higher, solid ground (John 8:32).

Both the ethereal pastor, Lonnie, and his mentor pastor, Chuck, begin to question what is true and right for their combined church ideals. Ultimately, they both get away from the noise and opinions to really hear Truth in love. When earthly voices get loud, we need quiet before the Lord. God's will and truth are never confusing or confounding. He speaks in a simple voice, and when we let God speak and obey in faith, we become like small children viewing the grandeur of His love.

This is why it's so easy and simple to love and to understand right from wrong when you're a child. Your size has not elevated you above your creator. You are powerless to even attempt to control the world on your own. As such, we need to trust and love like little children in order to understand the simplicity of Truth and Love. .....

~Carefully and Carelessly Loving and Living

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