In the Tom Cruise movie, A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson takes the stand to testify in a case of marine misconduct, as the commanding general at the base where a marine was abused and died. Cruise’s character believes the general ordered the “code red” on the now deceased marine and is trying to defend the accused abusers on the basis that they were following orders. So Nicholson ends up on the stand while his character is poked and prodded with questions and inconsistencies about the official story of the marine’s death. When Cruise’s character demands the truth, we hear the now infamous line, “You can’t handle the truth!” Nicholson, ultimately believing that ordering the code red was the right thing to do, outs himself in a fit of righteous indignation because Cruise had poked and prodded until Nicholson’s core was exposed.
Simeon, the elderly man who prophesied over Jesus as Mary and Joseph brought him into the temple complex declared, This child is destined…to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed (Luke 2:34-35, NIV). Jesus came to upset destiny and be rejected, but he did so in order to expose our hearts. Something about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection pokes and prods us until our cores are exposed, until the sinful nature in our hearts is brought to light.
All of us have hidden areas of our heart that we don’t want to admit are there: bitterness toward someone who hurt us years ago, jealousy towards that person has everything we want, cruelty we try to never let out but lurks there just the same, anger that we’ve allowed to fester because we want to be angry at what was done to us, selfishness we try to disguise with lofty-sounding justifications. Those things lurk in all of our hearts but we can never deal with them properly until they are exposed to the light. 1 John 1:7-8 reads, But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth (NLT). Living in the light means that we allow ourselves to be exposed. We allow the deepest darkest parts of us to be brought out into the light to be dealt with. Pretending those things don’t exist or hiding them means we are avoiding the light.
One of the purposes of Jesus’ mission to earth was to expose our hearts so that we could have all of the filth removed. Being exposed like that can be extremely frightening. At times, it can hurt to have all of the things we have worked so hard to bury ripped out into the open. But we must be willing to face the darkness in our hearts in order to root it out and be rid of it. Are you willing to let Jesus poke and prod you until you are exposed? Will you allow him to shine a light on those dark places in your heart that you have tried so hard to keep hidden? The process may not be pleasant, but the end result will be a life exposed to the light without shame.