Sarah McCarten


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The truth will set you free.

This is one of the truths that I’ve grown up believing. I think the specific Bible verse that this is referring to (John 8:32) is talking about knowing the truth of Jesus Christ and how it is that which sets us free. We understand that knowing Him and the lesson He taught will set us free. But, how does knowing the truth and being truthful impact everyday life?

I work as a nanny and I often wonder how much truth to tell the children that I work with. You’re thinking ‘always tell the truth Sarah, what are you talking about?’ aren’t you? Well it’s sometimes a bit more complicated than that!

Think about this:

There is a museum that we sometimes go to. It houses a collection of stuffed animals from the Victorian era. It sounds a bit cruel, I know! It is a bit, but the Victorians didn’t concern themselves with such matters. I went there a few weeks ago. I’ve taken the children there at least a dozen times and they’ve been with their parents lots of times too. We were wandering round a particular gallery and the little girl I nanny said, “Sarah, they’re awfully still aren’t they?” My immediate response, almost without thinking was, “sweetheart, of course they’re still, they’re dead.” She started shouting; “They’re dead? What do you mean they’re dead?”

As it transpires, she was under the impression that it was like a zoo and that the animals wander around at night but stay still in the day so that people can look at them!

Should I have told her the truth? Does it even matter?

Think about this:

I take the little boy I nanny to ‘toddler worship’ at the local Anglican Church. It usually follows the lectionary, so sometimes the stories are a bit odd for the children, but it means that the whole parish is looking at the same thing in the same week, which is a good thing! They adapt the stories for the children a bit. I was there after Christmas and the story that was being told was the story of Jesus turning water into wine (John 2). They told the story to the children and they explained that Mary asked Jesus to help them out with the lack of wine situation. Then they explained that Jesus said. “Of course Mummy, happy to help”, which of course we know is not the exact phrasing that Jesus used!

Should they have told the truth? Does it even matter?

Think about this:

How many times have you heard a Gospel message like the one that Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19)? Or the woman at the well (John 4)? Or even your own story? I know that the Jesus I hear about from the platform is often different to the one that I experience in my own salvation story – It’s less sugar-coated, and I often feel like we’re at risk of conning people. We tell them of an easy life, but in my life and in the lives of my friends I know that this is not true. Following Jesus is complicated and messy, but it’s great! I know that my life is so much more fulfilling than it would be if I didn’t know Jesus, but I also know that it’s harder a lot of the time too.

Should we tell the truth? Does it even matter?

Think about this: At what point is the truth essential?