I came across a statement in a Swedish book made by the Church Historian Adam of Bremen, who wrote in the 1070s,
If I said more, I would be accused of coming with lies. It is better, as Saint Jerome says, to tell the truth clumsily than present with eloquence that which is not true. (Translation from Swedish by the author)
St. Paul said, “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess 5:21). It can be understood along the lines of St. Jerome’s recommendation. Truth, as a moderator to speech, might make life less smooth, less safe and snug, but it gives a guideline, a compass, and finally a good conscience. It also takes off something of the sheen of eloquence but leaves something more stable and proved better. It takes the varnish off and leaves the pure metal.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me; burn my reins and my heart. For thy mercy is before my eyes; and I am well pleased with thy truth. (Psalm 26:2-3)
Truth is merciful. It should not be distrusted, or avoided, or controlled. Only by dwelling in truth can we find a way to a fruitful life, beyond an incrusted egocentrism. Truth is in God, and it is God. It is always beyond us in greatness, yet always something we can bend in humility toward and accept. We can invite the light of truth into our hearts, and dwell with God.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
I long for Heaven, where we will dwell with God in truth! He cleanses us now, but then we will rejoice with Him. The pain of being cleansed, tried, and proved is often a process of meeting my own conceit and quite tangibly being reduced from what I thought I was to something very insignificant. Still, it is joy, pure and simple, and probably the greatest presence I feel of God and His faithful love.
He has converted my soul. He has led me on the paths of justice, for his own name’s sake. For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me. (Psalm 23:3-4)