You'll recognize this as true--you with open minds; truth-ready minds will see it at once. (Proverbs 8:9, MSG)
YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.--spoken by Jack Nicholson in his role as Col. Jessep in A Few Good Men.
When I checked on the quote, I learned that it is #29 on AFI's 100 most memorable movie quotes of all time.Those of you who have seen the largely forgettable movie have it ingrained on our memories. What I didn't remember as well was Jessep's explanation of "handling the truth."
"You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to." (forgive the cuss word.)
Jessep was saying Tom Cruise's character wasn't "truth ready." What were his standards for getting truth ready? Values like honor, code, loyalty, backed up by putting his life on the line. We in America live in freedom, and as Christians, we are free from God's law and eternal death. If that is all we want out of wisdom, God will receive our thanksgiving, disappointed, perhaps, that we didn't get ready for more. We stay satisfied with baby milk.
The question of "what is wisdom?" has occupied my attention recently. I would like to think I have the spiritual gift of wisdom, but I have decided that I don't. I do have the gift of knowledge, of making connections between one scripture and another, and presenting in an accessible manner. Oh, yes, that goes right along with my gifts of teaching and encourager.
That doesn't mean I can't attain some degree of wisdom. Jessep defined truth-ready qualities as honor, code, and loyalty. I'm not sure what the Christian's code might be--unless it is God's holiness? We have the honor of representing God to other people.
The code obviously ties into the Bible. Paul said, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Corinthians 2;15, NIV) The more we delve into the Bible, the better prepared we are to compare other so-called "truths" against God's standards.
Loyalty? Purity, holiness, whole-hearted commitment to God. We have touched on those qualities fairly often this year. When our loyalty remains 100% focused, we have a clearer vision of truth. The closer I can come to being a Christian first and an American second. To being God's daughter before being a woman in the 21st century. The easier I will find it to sift today's popular philosophies against God's eternal truth. (Note: in saying that, I am not saying that every contemporary opinion is false. I am dangerously liberal in some people's opinions.)
What is our reward for getting ready for the truth? We'll recognize it when we see it. We can discern falsehoods and embrace the truth.
Let's check our truth-readiness on a truth-o-meter and work to improve our score.