Refreshing Truth

Originally published in March 1996

“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.This is the verdict:Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”John 3:18-19.

This is the verdict.The talk now is of what were you doing when the O.J. verdict was given.Years ago it was what were you doing when you saw man walk on the moon or when JFK was shot or even when the Challenger blew up.Now it has come to the O.J. verdict.Oh please.

But here is the true verdict, the truth.Jesus came as Light into this world to shine the light of truth on man’s dark deeds.“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.But whoever lives the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.John 3:20-21.Whoever lives the truth comes into the light.And when in the light, God’s work and mercy can be seen clearly.

Most people that we know probably don’t want the light of the truth shown on them.They like hiding in whatever darkness they have put themselves in.And that darkness is full of so many excuses.It’s like models, actors and actresses who use darker lights and shadows to make themselves look younger.Cybill Shepard, when she was starring in “Moonlighting” would have Vaseline smeared on the camera lens to give her a younger and more beautiful look.She didn’t want the bright lights to expose the truth that she was no longer a young actress.The ironic thing is that no matter how hard you try to hide the truth, people can still see the truth.Cybil Shepard hasn’t fooled me.

The temptation for us as ministers is for us to use shadows and darker lights so the brightness of the truth is made dim.We fear that such starkness might scare people away when really it is refreshing to be faced with honesty.

I believe this is what is so refreshing about DC Talk’s recent success with their new CD “Jesus Freak.”The video for the song “Jesus Freak” is getting MTV play.DC Talk has been on Headline News and other TV shows talking about being Jesus freaks.You can go into Circuit City and listens to the ten hottest CDs and find DC Talk’s there.And Best Buy is running ads for DC Talk’s CD right next to k.d. lang’s and R. Kelly’s newest.

What is so refreshing (can I say refreshing again?) about this success is that no one is being duped into who DC Talk really is.They really are Jesus freaks.The entire CD is full of such lyrics.There is not a shallow or a dark light among them.Whoever buys the CD is getting just what they expect—the truth.It is truth that exposes the darkness so they may come into the light.And if they go to a DC Talk concert, they will be getting the truth that they’ve already heard on the CD.

There’s no “Baby, Baby” moving to “Hope Held High” here.I’m not bashing Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith at all.I’ve been behind their success all along.But there is a refreshing honesty with what DC Talk has done.The light is so much brighter and the fruit of this light will be so much brighter.There is something about truth being held as truth.“I do not hid Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation.I do not conceal Your love and Your truth from the great assembly.”Psalm 40:10.

The truth can be received when the truth is shown in love.Do Green Day and TLC love their audiences?To a shallow extent I have to say yes but they don’t care about the destiny of their audiences.It is surprising to me at what my teens will allow me to say to them.Sometimes it is received when I am preaching the word of God but the times I am really able to shine the truth is when it is just us—when they realize the most that I do care about them.

These verses about the light of truth come right after one of the greatest statements about God’s love, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”John 3:16.I believe that is no coincidence.

Some may think this is a bash against “stealth youth events.”The social and physical needs that those events provide are ministry enough.Some youth groups need more of them.Then again, some need less.The truth is there and the love that allows the truth to be seen is there.Again, it is not so much in a message but in who you are and what you say.That is what exposes the darkness and leads them to the light.

The ironic thing is that no matter what darkness they are hiding behind, when you have the light of truth you can still see the truth no matter how well they hide it.And the light will draw them because truth is refreshing.