The poster was a photo of a stuffed doll — a housewife doing laundry in a laundry room — who was caught in a clothes wringer and was being pulled through the wringer and flattened out. The caption on the bottom of the poster read, “The truth shall set you free but, first, it shall make you miserable!*”
I thought that poster was great — because it humorously presented the truth: the truth about being a disciple of Christ, and the truth about the results that a successful Lent produces.
Discipleship is a process of being caught up in the truth. The truth about who we really are. The truth about Who Our Mysterious yet Loving God is. That’s why the poster of the woman being pulled and flattened through the clothes wringer was so appropriate!
You see, once you get caught up in true following of Christ — true discipleship — it IS like going through a wringer! Because, all the lies, all the untruths and fantasies and sinfulness in our lives slowly get squeezed out of us — like dirty water being squeezed out of laundry in a clothes wringer. Evilness, sins, and dishonesty are squeezed out of us until only the real, true us remains — with no artificial coloring, flavorings or additives! Nothing to taint or interfere with our love for God and for one another.
Being a true disciple of Christ is incredibly demanding — but, oh, so rewarding! And, so, Lent is here to put it to us very simply: The truth will set you free but, first, it will make you miserable!
So, may your observance of Lent 2012 set you free but make you miserable first! Ahh, sweet misery!
* “The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you miserable” was credited to Gestalt therapist Barry Stevens (1902-1985) in 1977. The saying soon appeared on posters and bumper stickers.