Disturbed characters have trouble revering truth. In fact, some are at all-out war with the truth. (See: Narcissists and the War on Truth.) Truth represents one of the more formidable “higher powers” in our lives. And it can get in the way of a narcissist’s grandiose sense of self. (See also: Grandiosity and the Heart of Narcissism.) It can also thwart a manipulator’s plan to take advantage of you. Truth stands in the way of many self-serving agendas. However, it’s crucial to the kind of self-reckoning that can make us all better people.
Revering truth is crucial to so many things in life. To have healthy intimate relationships, we have to be honest and sincere with others. And to be psychologically and spiritually healthy, we have to be honest with ourselves. That’s the really hard part. We humans have an incredible capacity to deceive. And the lies we tell ourselves are the most insidious. Moreover, they pose the biggest obstacle to our character growth. (For more on this see: Why We Lie – Even to Ourselves.)
Reclaiming Reverence in Irreverent Times
We live in irreverent times. That’s why I’ve written before on the importance of reverence. (See: Sound Character Requires Reverence.) And I think important to the discussion today to revisit the whole concept of reverence. That’s primarily because revering truth first requires that you understand what reverence is. Here’s an abridged (and modified) summary from a prior article that can help explain:
We often associate the word reverence with religion. We even affix the “reverend” modifier to the titles of our religious leaders. But reverence is not an inherently religious matter. It’s mostly about attitude. The reverent person experiences a sentiment akin to “awe.” They see the magnificence, wonder, or extraordinary value in something and, therefore, hold it in high regard.
Reverence often inspires us. And it should always humble us. A reverent attitude can make us want to understand things more deeply. And, it can make us want to care more. Reverent hearts are inclined to preserve and protect the things in life worth cherishing.
Paul Woodruff asserts that reverent souls embrace three sentiments at once that are crucial to character. Respect, awe, and a potential sense of shame (not toxic but healthy, constructive shame) combine in the reverent person. It’s helpful to take ourselves to task when we don’t hold the valuable things in life in high enough regard. And it’s right to feel badly when we don’t adequately recognize, accept, and deal with our shortcomings and limitations.
Reverence is more about how we relate than the religion we profess. Reverent souls seeks to elevate all of humanity. They strive to preserve what’s good and to make better what needs improving. That always starts at the personal level. So, reverence is ultimately about becoming a better person. We have to be the change we want to see in others.
Reverence and Character
We live in a largely irreverent age – a “throwaway” society. Everything seems disposable. But some things are worth revering, such as the timeless virtues we know build character
There are so many ways we can behave more reverently. We can show reverence for our planet, which sustains all life. And we would do well to revere the miracle of life itself and to do our best to nurture it. But when it comes to forging a healthy, decent character, perhaps nothing matters as much as revering truth.
For disturbed characters truth can be a barrier to something they want. Other times, it can be an obstacle to something they need to believe. Some disturbed characters play notoriously fast and loose with the truth. And some blatantly deceive for manipulative gain. Others lie so much they begin to believe their own fictions. A proper sense of awe and respect for the truth is crucial for sound character. Truth not only has the power to heal but also to set a person free. Free from what? Free from the spiritual slavery of an ego bent out of healthy shape (either unhealthily inflated or deflated). Such an ego only brings pain and destruction. But when we humbly embrace the truth, and reckon with it faithfully, life is no longer a shipwreck.
The Power of Truth
Carl Rogers suggested good therapists need to have “unconditional positive regard” for their clients. But I think he was really talking about reverence. Sometimes the healing process calls for confrontation. With disturbed characters, that means confronting negative attitudes and destructive behaviors. But you have to confront truth in a way that’s “palatable” enough for a client to even consider what you’ve put before them. And, of course, they have to be of a frame of mind to accept it. You see, it’s not enough just to be willing to admit the truth. That’s the relatively easy part, especially when someone has been caught red-handed doing wrong. What matters more is a person’s willingness to actively embrace the truth and then humbly learn from it. And that willingness necessarily requires reverence.
I’ll have more to say on the “4th commandment” of sound character next week. I’ll be focusing specifically on the difference between conscious self-deception and unconscious denial. (See more on both these topics in Character Disturbance.)
9 thoughts on “Character Requires Revering Truth”
Just For you
Tennyson’s In Memoriam is an elegy to a close friend, Arthur Henry Hallam
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
I rejoiced in your post and humbly thank you for your reverence. I hold you in esteem too. On Thursday past my Sis died, services were held for her today. Your timing is in tune with Gods timing and I can’t thank you enough.
I just want to tell you how much I have missed you, I believe all of us have missed your input and beautiful encouraging posts and I encourage you to help us along on this journey to help others. Joey, you have so much to give, you have a depth of spirit along with knowledge and experience to help others, I stay hoping to help others too.
This has been a difficult day for me and your acknowledgment has lifted my spirits. I pray God keeps you safe and blesses you dear one.
Hugs, many Hugs and Blessings to you Little Brother.
On this day of all days I will remember you forever as you have remembered me…..
Bonfire of the Vanities
This article by Dr. Simon is spot on……
To you with the highest regard, for your sad loss.
For You and your late Sis
Your Beautiful Eyes
I look at the sky,
So peaceful, so sublime,
This peace now coming, at this time,
The night is falling,
With a moon rise,
That reflected the light,
That came from your eyes.
This essence in life,
Made me feel alive,
How much happier I was,
When I look into your eyes.
Thank you, that was absolutely beautiful and gave me joy. When we put our trust in God, he never fails us. I have lost brothers and sisters I have loved deeply. In return God gave me a little brother, that is you Joey. Maybe one day, we will see each others eyes.
Hugs from your Sis
Just know we are together inspirit. A beautiful bond full of truth and healing is Dr. Simons blog. There are wonderful caring souls here and then there are those that fade with the wind. Enduring and caring is a true aspect of character and love.
Just know if ever, if ever you decide just contact Dr. Simon and I am here for you. Dr. Simons work is truth, caring, kind, forgiving and above all he loves us. You are not alone ever, God will never leave or forsake us, and being Christlike we do unto others and share the Good News. This is what Dr. Simon is all about. Dr. Simon is about loving one another. Love conquers all…… Just know I am always there for you, even across the oceans.
Hugs Dear One
“Why would I lie?”
To a CDN who asks this I’d like to reply
“Oh, let me list the why’s!”
What can one say to someone who says “why would I lie?” OR this one
“I can never lie.”
I’m incredulous to hear this because they just did!!
Complete denial. Utterly. It really does make you crazy. He is denying everything.
“Accusing me of something doesn’t make it true!” He spouts.
“I went STRAIGHT home the other night. I never went anywhere. And I’ve NEVER turned off my shared location!”
“You’re just so unforgiving of the past that you’re always looking for a smoking gun!” He whines.
“You really need counseling. You have issues.” He declares self righteously.
“I would NEVER play with fire when it comes to my marriage and family!!!”
He straightens his shoulders and looks me square in the eyes. “I have a CLEAR CONSCIENCE.”
This is mind fuckery. (Is that a word?)
I saw the Instagram Direct Messages of her naked body. I saw the GPS tracker show he met up with her in the next town bar. (I had installed a GPS tracker after the last time he conveniently turned off his shared location on his phone.) I spoke to her as she told me that he kissed her in the back of the Uber-the night he brought her TO OUR HOUSE-claiming he found a poor sick drunk young girl, stumbling to her car, and no one else was around. He couldn’t just LEAVE her in the parking lot all by herself!!! (It was an hour after the bar closed, but no way they’d been talking or anything, she just appeared out of nowhere!). So he brings her to our house at 1am. Carrying her in his arms, asking me to please help the sweet sick drunk girl he saved from the lonely parking lot.
Of course, my gut called bullshit. But my mind said “He would never bring a girl to our home that he was messing with! Right? Our children live here. That’s a line wouldn’t cross. Surely.
So here I am, a few weeks later, on the phone with a girl the same age as our oldest daughter. She insists they didn’t have sex, but he DID kiss her in the Uber, that first night they started talking.
Ummm…that wasn’t an Uber. That was our 17 YEAR OLD SON driving you two!!!
My husband had called our son to come pick them up. My husband was plastered and claimed his Uber wouldn’t load.
This is a new level of disgusting.
And he denies every single bit. No. Wait. Now he denies the details…
Yes, he DID bring her to our house, BUT ONLY to help her.
Yes, he DID turn off his shared location with me so he could meet her at the bar, but ONLY to tell her that he was a devoted husband and father!
Yes, he DID sneak Instagram messages but SHE started it! She sent him sexy pictures and he didn’t even ask for them!
I’m going to go throw up now.
I’m so sorry you are going through this. My heart breaks for you as you say he has crossed so many lines.
I’ve been there before and it doesn’t usually get better unfortunately.
He’s a rogue man and quite possibly addicted.
But you would probably know better about that.
I pray that you and your children will be safe as this will be harmful to you all.
Keep posting as you can use all the encouragement you could ask for don’t suffer in this alone.
OMG! Your telling of his idiotness is hilarious…but I’m sure it was not easy to live through. I hope the straw broke & you are able to kick his lying butt out the door…so he can find a private place to take the helpless strays he picks up. (I wonder…who bought her the drinks to make her fall-down drunk helpless?)