ODBLOG: “The Truth Shall Make You Free” -Rev. Renee Machiniak

“Heavenly intelligence is a deeper intelligence arising from a love of what is true-not for the sake of any praise in the world or any praise in heaven, but simply for the sake of the truth itself, because it is profoundly moving and delightful. People who are moved and delighted by the truth itself are moved and delighted by heaven’s light; and if so, then they are also moved and delighted by divine truth and actually by the Lord himself, since heaven’s light is divine truth, and divine truth is the Lord in heaven.”*

-Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell §347

Would you agree that we are in times that are anxiety producing, distressing and unsettling? Of course we are. It might feel like we are a ship in the wind without an anchor. Every day, we hear things in the news that are supposed to be facts and then we don’t have any way to evaluate them and what they will ultimately mean. We feel rudderless. 

What’s missing is to hear from people who value the truth for its own sake and who want to stick to that. People who don’t want to embellish, don’t want to exaggerate, don’t want to just get close to the truth, they want to say it just as it is, which then, by the way, points to probabilities in the future. That’s what gives us more meaning and a strong sense of where we are led and where we’re at, and where we need to go. That’s what’s missing today, and has been missing for a long time, the truth. Plain and simple. 

Then, we will all stop acting like Pontius Pilate who said “What is truth?” as Divinity stood right before his eyes. He was one of the Lost ones. He didn’t sense goodness. And the Lord was silent because he knew Pilate didn’t want to know the truth it takes courage to see and speak the truth because we may not always be popular or acceptable when we do. 

If we lose our appetite for the truth, for its own sake, we begin our journey into a lost, lifeless place. Valuing truth for its own sake gives us integrity. It orients us to reality, to what is real, and the Lord is the very real. Valuing Truth for its own sake, psychologically, keeps us in touch with ourselves at various levels of our being, and then, we can be in touch with each other, truly. 

Now moving to another aspect of truth, which is that at relevant times, in our own lives, it’s critical that we speak truth, in appropriate ways, or life gets out of order and chaotic. Sometimes gradually, and sometimes an obvious life-changing ways…

For example, when a friend hurts your feelings, you don’t talk with them about what happened and how you feel, and the friendship cools off. Over time, you call each other less and less often and when a life tragedy hits there is no one to go to. Love is sacrificed then. Love is one of the first casualties when truth is set aside. 

Perhaps the highest spiritual practice is to face reality as it is, or another way to say this, to face into the Lord who is reality itself. When we do this we are truly free we are free. So how do we do this? How do we face the truth, even when it hurts or upsets us? Jesus said, “open your hearts and open your eyes”. Do not worry about opening your mind because your mind would automatically be opened if you open your heart and your eyes. See what is before you, what is actually being shown to you, and let your heart teach your mind. 

All the secrets of the universe, God’s universe, emerge from the faithful and loving heart. Swedenborg guides us about the truth saying that we live in this world understanding varying degrees of truth or appearances of Truth. 

The closer we are to god, the closer we approach the truth, absolute truth which is only glimpsed here in time and space, so the most effective and efficient method of acquiring truth is to build our relationship with god.

*Swedenborg, Emanuel. Heaven and Hell. Translated by George F. Dole. West Chester: Swedenborg Foundation, 2000.

Rev. Renee Machiniak has been the minister of the Royal Oak Church of the Holy City for the past 25 years, serving as a staff chaplain for both Beaumont Hospice and Oncology for 9 years and now a volunteer chaplain with Beaumont’s Ovarian Cancer Support Group and the Royal Oak Police Department. She resides in Royal Oak Michigan with her husband, Joe, her parents, Rev. John and Sharon Billings, and dog Gertie.

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