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Julian Whiting’s (NESTED) Reflection on the Word
JCFL Prayer Vigil – 6th October, 2011

“What is truth?

What is true for you?

For me one defining moment whilst serving as a policeman in the 80s was when I reported an inspector for beating a prisoner because  he, the inspector, lost his patience.The truth for me at that time was working overtime and alongside officers from another shift. Some say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.but was I?

A difficult situation as I was a young officer trying to do my job but sensing that justice was not really there for the prisoner. As a result of my report the Inspector (who I liked) was retired on a sick/ill health pension and the more senior officer (a Superintendent), who I reported this matter to, was promoted to Chief Superintendent. Two weeks prior to this he told me that he wasnt going any higher in the Police. Little did I know what would happen next, maybe naive however  sharing truth for me was to take an interesting course.

Being  ignored, rejected called a grass and having refuse put in my in tray for a few years wasn’t easy. I was given the less interesting jobs and a very boring 6 month tour at Buckingham Palace. They tended to send problem officers there. One fellow officer was waiting to hear about his fate having run a couple of people over in a squad car. More recently. I have witnessed someone telling untruths to the police and under oath in Crown Court. Truth for some is just too much.

What is true for you?

There are of course consequences in telling the truth. The decision to expose the truth, act with honesty and integrity is something only each of us can weigh up. Some people will choose not to speak ‘the truth’ for fear of repercussions. Others for personal reasons. Everyone’s circumstances are different and not everyone will choose to expose truth. What would for example a married officer with 3 small children, struggling to make ends meet do? He or she may not be up for exposing in fear of losing their job. Protection and provision for family could be a higher priority.

We may feel awkward when it comes to reputation / position /  future etc. Sometimes sadly we do not have the luxury to ponder over what we should and shouldn’t do. Ever since my incident I have had a recurring dream of being in uniform policing but with no badge or position. Many other officers in the dream would enquire as to what I was doing back in the police?

What it is like for you?

Have you or are you struggling with anything similar? Do you dream…a thought, a word perhaps? A call to duty?

 What is true for you?

We can choose to suppress truth. You can see nothing, keep quiet perhaps, allow it to pass or we can also do something, stand up be counted.
Both options are not easy.
If you dont tell the truth it has a habit in some cases to eat away in the conscience, agitiation may set in, nerves may suffer maybe sleepless nights
If we do we could taste some very much needed:  freedom, peace, release… however we could also run the risk of isolation, rejection and separation.

Before we act and have time it may be wise to consult others, pray, share and think more about truth and the concept of truth.
If we struggle to determine what is true / absolute truth we could of course consider what is ‘untrue’ and perhaps work out what is true from there?

So what does the Gospel say?

Luke 19 (The Message)

“Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

Blessed is he who comes, 
the king in God’s name! 
All’s well in heaven! 
Glory in the high places!

Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!” But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

John 15:18-20 (The Message)

“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.

“When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.”

20 or so years later I have met with previous police colleagues from the force, that inspector was wrong you know, you did the right thing, you didn’t have it easy did you?

What thought processes had these guys been tackling over the years? What truth have they been concealing tackling?

I think Jesus is asking us to remain in truth in love, with patience and understanding.

Let us take a punt, take a risk, share some truth, maybe some stuff previously hidden?.

We just dont know how our  truth will impact on ourselves and others.
What are we projecting onto God and others in terms of truth? What does the Gospel say about truth? How do we interpret the Gospel of Truth? What do ‘others’ say about truth?

Jesus says:

“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.”  (Matthew 7 – The Message)

Lord help us to fix our eyes on you and your message. Forgive us when we are weak and be with us as we try to follow you.  Amen


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