In the film A Few Good Men, starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, there’s a famous scene where Cruise’s character, Navy JAG attorney Lt. Daniel Kaffee is questioning Nicholson’s character, Marine Colonel Nathan Jessup during a court martial trial for the murder of a Marine.
In the scene, Kaffee demands that Jessup tell the truth, to which Jessup famously replies, “You can’t handle the truth!”
As men, we must ask ourselves, “Can you handle the truth?”
If someone told you the point blank, honest truth, would you accept it? Would you deny it? Would you try to explain it away?
The old phrase, “truth hurts” is true. It’s often hard to hear the truth, but to thrive as men, we must accept the truth, no matter how painful it may be.
If it hurts to hear the truth, you need to hear it.
Yet, so often men today run away from the truth. They try to do everything possible to avoid admitting what they already know.
Maybe it’s the truth that you’re a bad father. You spend your days avoiding your kids and only allow them to see the “tired” version of dad that comes home and drinks beer while watching TV instead of playing with them. Instead of being supportive and loving you criticize and scold your children for mundane things. I know I was guilty of that for a time.
It could be that you can’t handle the truth that you’re a bad husband. Maybe you’ve let yourself go and you’ve gained a ton of weight. Between that and your nagging porn addiction your wife never wants to have sex with you and you have to settle for pity birthday sex. Maybe you can’t handle the face that you’re not even the leader of your own household. Your wife “wears the pants” and you have to ask her permission to go anywhere, but anything, and she picks out your clothes like you’re a child.
Perhaps you can’t handle the truth that you’re a lame excuse for a man. You can’t do 10 pushups without huffing and puffing. You talk a big game, but you know if it came down to it, you couldn’t physically defend yourself or your family. You thought you’d be living big and free by now, but you’re miserable, in loads of debt, and there’s no hope in sight.
I get it.
The truth is hard to see sometimes. And it’s even harder to embrace it and take action.
The men who embrace truth rather than avoid it, are the men who conquer life.
You can run from the truth for years. You can avoid any situation that might potentially expose your false life and reveal the truth about you. But it will eventually catch up to you. You cannot run away from the truth.
John Eldredge, in his excellent book on Christian masculinity, Wild at Heart, writes, “Until a man knows he is a man he will forever be trying to prove he is one, while at the same time shrinking from anything that might reveal he is not.”
Men all want to feel manly. They want to be the best husband, father, worker, and man they can be. Yet they avoid facing any test which might prove the truth to them and to everyone else, which is… they’re not.
It sucks to have reality slap you in the face. But if you’re truly going to thrive as man, husband, and father, you better accept it and make the changes you need to make.
You need to look yourself in the mirror. Are you hiding the truth? Are you running away from the reality of where you are in life? Are there things that you know are true about you, yet you do everything in your power to try to hide them?
I can’t tell you what that truth is. Only you know. But I guarantee, as you’re reading this right now, you know what it is.
So again I ask you, “Can you handle the truth?”
If you want to be a man of integrity, a man of courage, and a man who is not held back by his failings, you must accept the truth.
But you must also act on it. Accepting the truth means nothing if you do not change.
Hear the truth. Accept the truth. Act on the truth.
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