By Bob Zoellner

One of the biggest challenges we all face is honesty. Brutal honesty. About ourselves and others. That’s because a lot of times the truth about a situation is not very pleasant, and we tend to downplay things to make ourselves look and feel better about it.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

The quickest way to experience deteriorating mental health is to quit living in reality. For some people, there are physical and organic reasons this happens, but for the majority of us, we have learned to avoid or ignore the unpleasant aspects of life, to our peril.

For us to be mentally and spiritually healthy, we must start with being honest about who we are and the circumstances of our lives, then we can deal with what is truly going on. Otherwise, because of our sin nature, we will devolve into chaos.

John 1:14 states that “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Grace AND truth, and we must also live in both realms to be completely free to live as God intended.

Truth tells us that we are sinners. Grace tells us that, not in spite of, but because of that, we are offered salvation.

Truth tells us that sin deserves punishment. Grace tells us Christ took our place and paid the debt we owed.

Truth tells us that we will never measure up to God’s standard. Grace tells us to stop trying, because Jesus is God’s standard, and he is our friend, our advocate, our substitute, our Savior.

The ultimate despair, the end of the line for poor mental and spiritual health, is the desire to end one’s life. It’s become cliche that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” So, let’s flip it around and acknowledge that “suicide is a temporary solution to a permanent problem.” What does that mean, exactly?

Sin has brought us eternal separation from God, but reconciliation comes through Christ. Suicide may stop the temporary pain one is experiencing on this earth, but the permanency of the sin problem—eternal separation from God—has never been dealt with.

The Lord is calling us to address the truth about ourselves, that we are hopelessly lost without him. Grace comes in to reconcile us to God, and the continuing work of grace can do it’s work if we let it.

But we must start with an honest assessment of who and what we are.

That is the truth about grace.

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