Truth, who can handle the truth when it is the kind of truth that hurts? In disagreements one may hear that old maxim, “Uh-huh! the truth hurts! doesn’t it?” Mostly, this maxim is tossed by angry spouses. Is that the kind of truth we would want heard or to hear? No. It’s usually something one or the other has carefully hidden under the proverbial rug; hoping for it’s death. But like the stench from a dead rat hidden in the wall, its pungency grows.
The problem with these kinds of truths is perspective. One party may have a subjective perspective. While the other an objective one. ” And never the twain shall meet.” Unless…Until each can come to the place of understanding these perspectives cannot change.
Understanding is a big word and it has many connotations. To one understanding is compassion. To another understanding is a grasping of knowledge. In the situation of such truths understanding is both. Each party needs understanding (compassion and acceptance of knowledge) before either can move forward with the work required to break open the wall, dig out, and remove the hidden rat completely.
Problems arise when one or both parties refuse to open themselves up to the other’s perspective. Refusing to consider the other side; for whatever reason. This is where hope is lost and the sting of truth burns. It may simply be that the hurt, fear, loss of trust, is just too great. Or it may be a hardened heart? Whatever the reason truth, the kind that unlocks chains, cannot be released.
In one of his poems old Rabbie Burns wrote, ‘Oh the gift of God to give us, to see ourselves as others see us.’ That is of course paraphrased. But the wisdom of that one line is profound. For if we could see ourselves as others see us we would not only have the knowledge others have of us, but their perspective as well. And what could that lead to but understanding.
“God, give us the gift of seeing ourselves as others see us. Let it lead to greater understanding of their perspective of who we are and what we are all about. Let it help dig out the hidden rats that threaten; and restore the walls that divide. Open our eyes to see ourselves as You see us; for only then will we have the truth that sets the captive free.”