“Would you trust your mom, best friend, or a stranger the most with a secret?”
Truth or Dare…This game has been around for centuries, though it has been called different names. In fact, one version was played as entertainment at Christmastime. Some people may pose the goal as trying to get to know each other better, but that intention could be questioned in many circles. If we are truthful, the premise is the same for many versions: Use the power we have been given to embarrass someone or find out some dirt on them that would otherwise not be offered willingly. Kids are playing it with their friends (not always age-appropriate versions), while teens and adults are intrigued and challenged by it. You can make up your own questions and dares, or you can buy a game that has them supplied for you. Some versions are light, funny, and maybe a little embarrassing, while others divulge way more information than is fitting, put the players in incredibly uncomfortable situations, and encourage players to do things outside of their character.
Why is it that people are drawn to this when so much is at stake? As I pondered this, the LORD revealed a couple truths to me.
“Surely You desire integrity in the inner self, and You teach me wisdom deep within.”Psalm 51:6 CSB
There is a God-given desire deep within us to crave knowledge…to truly know God and His ways. Now, knowledge and wisdom are different. Knowledge is knowing things; wisdom is applying what you know. God continues to teach us, through His Spirit, how to apply what we know about God’s character, which can include admitting or confessing when we have sinned by thinking or acting in a way that opposes Him; not all of these matters are known to others, but they certainly are to involve honest interactions between you and God. What pleases God is that we keep the knowledge of Him and His ways close to our hearts, so that we can rightly discern everything that is trying to take root there. We are to be cautious; not everything that’s trying to take root in our hearts is good. What He wants is for us to be faithful with what we know about Him and His ways. He wants us to exercise the wisdom He has given us on whether or not something should stay and take root (i.e., truths that line up with Scripture) or be uprooted (crafty schemes of the enemy that twist truths to invoke fear, incorrect views of God and others, degraded value, etc.).
The verse above was written by David and is tucked in the middle of a prayer of repentance. He had come face to face with his sin, and his spirit was broken. You can feel the remorse and anguish as you read this Psalm. He knows, deep within, that His fellowship with God has been affected by His sin, and he is willing to act rightly before God, confessing it and asking for forgiveness. This is what the above verse is really dealing with. If you just take this particular verse and don’t look at what’s around it, you can interpret it very differently. However, this is the example of wisdom being referred to…knowing God, knowing how He has designed us to live, AND living that way. When we don’t, His Spirit convicts us of our sin in order to restore us and our relationship with Him.
“…we know indeed we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone thinks to have known anything, not yet does he know as it is necessary to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 BLB
Let’s take a look back at our Truth or Dare example; please note that this game is not always sinful, but it can be. The enemy is really good at taking concepts that are beautifully designed by God and twisting them. Here are possibilities of how (and it’s not just in this game, but also in our everyday conversations with family, friends, co-workers, etc.)
“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.”Ephesians 4:15 BSB
Whether you’re playing a game, sitting at a table for break with your co-workers, having lunch with friends, standing in a LONG line at the store, or spending the holidays with family, we can all examine our words and actions (even our facial expressions) and what was/is at the heart of them. Think of a newly built house. You want a strong foundation, solid walls, quality materials. If you go skimpy on any of those, the integrity of the house is compromised. Well, your body is a dwelling place (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) for God; and another believer’s body is also a dwelling place for God. If you chip away at them with your words, you are, in an essence, hacking away at their spiritual dwelling. Instead, we are to speak in a way that fortifies their dwelling and makes it stronger…to provide good, quality truths to build on.
What are we doing with others’ dwelling places? Are we helping to build them, or are we wrecking them?
If we have been wrecking them, is the Spirit nudging us to have a healthy conversation between us and God, confessing our sin? Is He leading us to also have a restorative conversation with someone else?
May our words be those that will strengthen our dwelling and others’! Let us know how someone has recently built YOU up!