There are times in our lives when we are caught in circumstances we want to get out of but can’t. We try all sorts of things to extricate ourselves from those circumstances and wear ourselves down doing so. We become weary, and, perhaps, feel swamped like we can’t be free. But, there is a way out.
There is a verse in Scriptures that reveals a truth that is freeing. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (John 8: 31-32) In this context, Jesus tells his disciples to consider who He is and to follow Him and that it would set them free from the “traditional” perspective that blocks them from seeing who He is.
That’s the Christian context. However, I believe this truth is a fundamental basis of all religions — that the truth will set you free. Even atheists and agnostics believe it: The truth will set you free. It is an universal truth that all can practise.
How do we apply that truth to our particular circumstances so that we are set free? It begins with self-honesty. If we are in a situation that is overwhelming us and we can’t get out of it, maybe, we should start asking ourselves how we view that particular situation. Honestly see the situation as it really is — not through the spin or tainted glass we see it through. Be prepared to face the facts.
It takes courage to do that because we are examining our feelings, reasons and motivations honestly and that can be painful. But, it will help us see the reality of that situation as it is and not through the cultural, social, political or religious bias we were brought up in. Once we remove the bias or spin, we see things as they really are and it will help us make the right decision or decisions which will set us free.
It’s like the wife who is in a loveless marriage. She sees her husband not loving her the way she wants him to and puts expectations on him to love anyway. In doing so, she adds to the pressure on the relationship without realising it. But, she does it because she can’t face up to her own feelings about her husband. When she starts being honest about her feelings, in time she begins to realise that she truly loves him and it hurts unbearably because she finally sees that he doesn’t love her as much.
It will take some time to reach that point — if we are honest about our feelings. It’s painful because reality often hurts. If we can’t do this ourselves, it helps to see a therapist. When we can face reality, we will now be faced with the challenge of how to deal with it. There are options.
The wife may realise that she loves her husband and does not want to lose him. She sees that although he doesn’t love her, he is nice to her. She may be willing to stay in the relationship, content to accept whatever love he gives in his own way. She comes to terms with the reality of her relationship. It works for her and the weight is lifted. She is free to exercise her choice and live by it.
Or, the wife may want out. She can’t live in a loveless marriage and she chooses to pull herself out of it. Now, she can because she knows for a fact that her husband doesn’t love her and there is no future in this relationship. She can opt for a divorce. It will be a painful process, but she is free to move on.
If she belongs to a religion that prohibits divorce, she’ll have to consult her spiritual mentors and find the faith to accept the realities of her relationship and live within the relationship or separate without an actual divorce — whatever works for her. Again, the decision is hers and she makes them fully aware of the realities and consequences which she has the faith to face. She doesn’t go down under from her circumstances.
The fact that she has made a decision to act and resolve the issue in itself shows she has become free. When you are not free you can’t resolve.
Truth requires honesty, honesty with oneself and others. Honesty bares truth as it is and helps us come to terms with our specific realities, enabling us to move on. That’s liberating!