This post explores the contrast between loving truth and striving for religious perfectionism, using the stories of David and Saul, two of Israel’s kings, to exemplify this dynamic. It boils down to our relationship with truth. Do we love it and pursue it, or do we avoid it and refuse to develop a taste for it?
David’s distinguishing quality was his genuine love for truth. When confronted with it, he embraced repentance. This deep connection to truth earned him the title of a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). In contrast, Saul shunned truth, leading to the loss of his kingdom and an untimely demise. David, however, retained his kingdom and became part of the eternal lineage of Jesus, the King of kings. While David’s transgressions brought suffering, he remained king until his old age.
True masculinity acknowledges imperfection, aspiring towards the ideal while embracing reality.
When we falter and are confronted with truth, repentance paves the way to reconciliation with God. A humble, contrite, repentant heart allows God’s mercy to forgive, reconcile, and restore.
When we try to conceal sin and evade truth, it behooves us to heed the warning: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2 Ni). “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23).
Saul sought religious perfectionism. He sought the approval of the prophet and the other public appearance of being approved by the prophet. A deeply insecure man, the double-minded king seem to have never understood that being godly has to do with his heart condition not outward ritualism.
Imperfect men who choose to love truth over their own selfish agenda and external religiousness, those are the Davids of today, too.
Public approval lovers who only use religion to portray themselves are ritualistically perfect – aren’t these the men who lead entire families, churches, companies or even countries down the wrong path?
Some surprising benefits of loving truth and humility before God
Amazingly, being of contrite spirit has even been shown to yield significant health benefits, both physically and psychologically. Studies, such as the 2019 “Repentance and the Pursuit of Meaning: A Terror Management Perspective” by Allen E. Bergin, have demonstrated a positive correlation between repentance and improved well-being. The study explored how repentance can help people cope with existential anxiety and find meaning in life.
Here is a summary of the study as quoted in the book “The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality: From the Inside Out”:
We concluded that repentance is a powerful psychological mechanism that can help people cope with existential anxiety and find meaning and connection in life. We suggested that repentance can be seen as a form of spiritual transformation that involves shifting one’s focus from self to God and others” (p. 225).
- Be like King David, don’t cover it up, it won’t work anyway.
- Bring it to God, unlock healing through humility. Get healthy and get strong!
Loving truth is the way men who truly know God, choose to go!
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