Which truth will set you free?
Today’s reading is Jesus healing the blind man in John chapter 9.
There is this interesting moment at the end where Jesus declares that he has come to make the blind see and those that see blind (to the astonishment of the Pharisees, who ask if he is is suggesting that they are blind).
The Pharisees believe that they see, that they know the truth and that this makes them pure. As Emily put it during The Order of the Black Sheep’s service today “know the truth and the truth will make you smug”.
Jesus said “know the truth and the truth will set you free” but, especially in this post-truth #altfacts world that we now find ourselves in, we need to ask which truth it is that will set us free.
It is usually taken to mean the one universal truth that, once you know it, will set you free.
Not only can we not agree on what the one universal truth is but all too often this doesn’t set people free, it can be a burden instead.
However, psychoanalytically there is a different, internal, truth that will set you free. Rather than being like the pharisees in this story who think they know and understand the one universal truth we can look inwardly and find the truth about ourselves.
It’s all too easy to think that knowing (our) universal truth makes us clean and holy – better than the others who are on the outside. But the internal truth makes us reflect on who we really are. To examine and be honest about our flaws; to accept ourselves and, therefore, also others. To realise that we are all human and incapable of being perfect. This truth will set you free. Free from the burden of perfection, free from shame, free from hiding from ourselves. It’s only once we have been honest about and accepted these imperfections within ourselves that we can start the process of healing from them.
By thinking that we have cracked the one universal truth and know it fully we become blinded to the deeper, internal truth that can truly set us free.
May the blind to the internal truth come to see it, and those that believe they see the one universal truth become blind to it that we may all heal in community together.
Creed, Pádraig Ó Tuama