Sitting in a circle. Ripples of giggles and gasps.
“Truth or Dare?”
The words are thick and drip with foolish challenge, don’t they?
Tell the truth about something I have no control over? I’m at the mercy of a friend’s whim. Curiosity and immaturity can mix up a batch of awkward for everyone.
Or—take the dare? The potential is unpredictable and boundless. The same immaturity intersects with creativity. Dares always have the possibility for embarrassment, too.
If you played this game, how did you choose? I always weighed the choice as I looked into the eyes of the challenger. When I read a person’s intent, I started with the eyes and came back to them to confirm what I saw in the whole face. I hoped to gauge the curiosity-immaturity-creativity factors (read: wickedness potential!). Eyes tell a lot, don’t they? A Yiddish Proverb says “The eyes are the mirror of the soul.” I might agree.
Real Life Truth or Dare
So, we all know this is a dare either way, right? We will dare to tell the raw truth to the group or accept the challenge of an active dare. We could be embarrassed or feel intense emotions either way.
Pardon me while I frame this in a way that is significant to me.
I go about my daily life, whether I realize it or not, sitting in various circles. The setting for the group varies: my home, car, a professional office, the church, a coffee shop. The faces in the group change all the time, too. Family, close friends, people I barely know, or complete strangers. The time, place, and audience matters a good deal.
Life plays out between the characters in my circle on a miniature stage. Then, a noticeable thing happens. It’s not life-or-death critical—or maybe it is. I do something. Something may be done to me. Or I observe an exchange between others. And so it begins. Now what?
If I pause long enough, I hear the voice in my head say, “Truth or Dare?”
The first step in response to the significant event is a choice. Dare to tell the truth or dare to act foolishly. And what would that really mean, anyway?
Telling the truth in a given situation could mean different things. The questions that beg to be asked are something like these:
Can I effectively discern truth? This is the time to evaluate all the emotional pushes and pulls. It’s possible I’m not in the right frame of mind, or I’m unable to see things more accurately. Will I admit I need help to see things clearly? I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to pause and pray before speaking or acting. And there are plenty of times I’ve had to seek counsel from a trusted friend who may be less entangled with the people or events.
Am I willing to tell the truth about me? This could reveal something unglamorous. I might put myself in rather unflattering light if I confess my embarrassing or shameful words or actions. Will I intelligently and carefully share my good, bad, and ugly?* Beth Moore calls it “telling on yourself.” Would I dare to do that?
Am I willing to lovingly tell the truth about others? Hmmm. I might trip all over that word “lovingly.” If a person is hurt, “speaking the truth in love” may not come easily. (See Ephesians 4:15.) How I interpret someone’s intent could tarnish my response. But, simply put, telling the truth in a loving way isn’t always warm and fuzzy. Truth may hurt. I really hope to evaluate my words wisely. I think it’s possible to be honest and bring healing into the mix instead of hand grenades. (You should know this is a growth area for me. See? I’m telling on myself!) A good friend reminds me often that interactions and events combine elements of good and bad. It is rare to have a purely good or bad situation. Maybe the positive and negative won’t be seen equally, or one might be obscured. Will I be open to and truthful about both with others?
Daring to act foolishly is also a choice. At least one question clamors:
Am I willing to go against the flow? This is a tough decision. Internal and external pressures are enticing. Consensus is contagious, isn’t it? It might even be easier. There are times when that makes a lot of sense, but Matthew 7:13 carries a heavy warning: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Christians shouldn’t be surprised by disagreement on certain topics. (Note to self: Review previous point on “loving truth.”)
Answering these kinds of questions is where our faith gets real.
I’m a thinker type; I love ideas! God never intended faith to be a “just a good idea.” The Christian faith is meant to be active and lived out consistently in keeping with biblical wisdom and Jesus’ commands. We don’t think about being a disciple of Christ. We are hearers and doers of the Word (James 1:22). It’s rarely easy. It’s a process with plenty of room for growth every day. Mistakes will happen. The life lived with bold faith rooted in Christ must be daring in truth and love, growing in confidence even in stark contrast to the faces in the group.
And the Grace…
Remember when I said Truth or Dare drips with challenge? This seems to be on multiple levels. First the challenge comes to us in the form of the what we do. Then it comes to us in how we do it. When we dare to tell the truth to others (who may or may not share faith) about their impact in our lives, it can get messy. It’s so important to proceed wisely and innocently (Matthew 10:16 ESV). Again, bringing healing, rather than hand grenades. Wise words can do that, even if they aren’t warm and fuzzy.
Dare to be loving and truthful, friends!
Thanks for reading along.
Questions to Think About
1. Have you ever thought about the daily challenges that crop up in everyday life as a dare moment?
2. Think about the last time you successfully faced a moment like that. What did it look like to be truthful and loving? What was the best part of navigating it well?
3. If you have had less successful responses, what would strengthen you for the next time?
* Sharing intelligently, carefully, and truthfully evaluates honestly and takes the audience into account. We should always consider whether sharing is appropriate in “size” and effect. Keeping things in proper, logical perspective matters. Causing extreme emotional pain to others may not be acceptable or appropriate (Celebrate Recovery Step 9; Matthew 5:23-24).