I remember years ago coming across the phrase, ‘It costs to be honest.’ Subverting the saying, ‘It pays to be honest.’ Well, reformed bank robber Tom certainly discovers that when he goes to the cops wanting to come clean, strike a deal and hand back the millions he has been storing up. Things go drastically wrong and soon he is on the run fearing for his life and the life of Annie, the woman he loves. It will take all his daring and courage to keep one step ahead of those wishing to finish him and run off with the cash. In an age of fake news and tweaked truth honesty is a challenge. It’s costly currency and we’re all fascinated by spectacular exaggeration and fictional spin. Jack Nicholson, as Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men, famously gave us the line, ‘You can’t handle the truth!’
Perhaps there is something in that. I want something a little cosier, a tad easier at times. Truth can be a hard mountain to climb. Jesus left us with the saying, ‘The truth will set you free.’ (John 8 v 31-32) Truth can be used as a weapon, but Jesus saw it as a good thing, to help us, to make us more secure, and to liberate us. And in him truth and compassion embrace, justice and peace come together. Working hand in hand. Truth without kindness can be ‘like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold’, to quote a line from Dead Poets Society. I believe Jesus has come to show us the truth about life, the world, ourselves and God. But he offers this with warmth, a smile and an open hand.