“Yeah, but the message was true. It was really the right thing to do. It was the most right thing we did all summer. We didn’t mess up anything; the mess was already there. All I want, for just once in my life, is to make a success of doing the wrong thing.” – Ben Beamering p. 237
Poor Ben. He just can’t seem to have any success doing the wrong thing.
Ben here is lamenting the fact that in the pranks the boys were playing on the church, he was trying to mess things up for his father and inadvertently ended up making things better, because people were being forced to face the truth. In the case made in this story, the boys, in the process of “spying” on the church, uncover the fact that the associate pastor is acting indiscreetly towards junior high girls. When the boys discover that Jonathan’s sister may be the next victim, Ben decides they will use the platform they have created illustrating scripture on Sunday mornings to reveal this indiscretion to the whole church. As expected, it creates a big scene, but it also exposes what is wrong so it can be dealt with.
Ben is a truth-teller. And this story is what happens when you have a truth-teller in a community. It ends up being good for everybody. It may hurt, and most often it does, but it’s a good kind of hurt. Jesus said the truth would set us free. He didn’t say it would make us feel good. He said it would set us free because the truth forces us to deal with what’s really there. More often than not, we try and cover up the truth, but that only makes things fester and grow worse.
I’ve been driving around a car with expired plates — a very dumb thing to do. I got caught yesterday and I must admit that although it’s painful and there are penalties involved, in the end, I will be set free, because I won’t have to hide anymore. The truth always sets you free.
We need to welcome people like Ben and be more like him in our willingness to reveal and be revealed. It’s what it means to walk in truth.
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