Truth: it’s a belt not a sword.

I could subtitle this: Never trust Christians (or anyone for that matter) when we talk about the sword of truth.

The 'Sword of Truth' series (Terry Goodkind). Great books; bad metaphor.
The ‘Sword of Truth’ series. Great books; bad metaphor.

It’s a powerful metaphor. Truth shaped like a sword cutting through the falsehoods and deceptions of the current world. One of my favourite reads is the ‘Sword of Truth’ series by Terry Goodkind. It’s a fantasy story where the hero searches, finds, loses, uses and ultimately defeats his enemy with this Sword of Truth. However it is just fantasy. Truth is not sword-shaped in the real world.

But I know that at times I have perceived truth in this way – it’s a tool for the confrontation; a weapon to be wielded to defeat the lies I perceive around me.

Imagine you have a tricky relationship. It might be at home, at work, or on social media even and you suddenly realise you have it: the truth that is going to rock their world. You don’t care how they feel because you know it’s going to vindicate your position. And so you wield that weapon of truth, cutting deeply with its blade. All before you falls, devastation is left in your wake…

I was in a sermon recently and the preacher used this metaphor: ‘the sword of truth’. I paused for a moment, not quite believing what I was hearing. Truth can’t be sword shaped if you’re a follower of Jesus, because it would contradict our main purpose: to love.

Truth isn’t a sword. It’s a belt.

It’s the thing you put on before you arm yourself, not the armament itself. It holds your trousers up. It keeps your clothes in place so that if you do have to put armour in, it doesn’t chafe too badly.

Truth is what makes love authentic – love can’t hurt or cut or bite. No, love only mends and fixes and heals and cures. It befriends and consoles and grieves and laughs.

If you hear Christians talk about using truth like a sword, know this: they have something wrong. Truth is not a weapon of destruction.

It holds your trousers up.

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