Recently I wrote a simple (yet unoriginal) idea on my Facebook status. I stated, "Admitting you are wrong about something you've been passionate about is incredibly difficult. It's also incredibly freeing because it forces an identity change to some degree."
A friend of mine said they were intrigued so I offered some explanation. Here it is:
Anytime we give our hearts and efforts to something we give it priority in our life. The things that we give our time and selves to end up shaping us because it creates the context within which we live. Our context, especially the context which we seemingly create and have control over, nourishes our identity (like it or not). When I write about this issue I'm thinking primarily of our view of God but it can expand beyond that to other issues.
For instance, if I think God is a racist it will severely impact how I see myself, see others, and behave. When I discover God is not a racist it will take a lot of submission and humility for me to cast aside the identity of a white supremacist I had been developing because it demands I overhaul my worldview (that other skin tones are not bad), self view (that I am not great or blessed due to my skin tone), behaviors (more acceptance and personal relationships of love with people different from me), and so on.
What we choose to believe ends up changing the lens through which we see and interpret the world and thus changes how we live in the world. So when we discover we are wrong about the things are are passionate about, be it our view of God, of politicians, of conspiracy theories, or anything else we give ourselves to in large quantity it will hurt to force ourselves into abandoning what has thus far been a strong pillar in the forming of our identity, behavior, and future. Nobody wants to abandon their foundations. It's horrifying.
It's like making a cake only to discover (two steps too late in the baking process) that you've poured in a wrong ingredient and now you must make an entirely different kind of cake that you didn't intend to ever make. But... this new cake is going to be better. It's not the best metaphor but it'll suffice.
When I speak of freedom being a result what I mean is that truth frees us from bondage. If we're convinced of lies or any kind of untruth or evil and we give ourselves to it then it plays a huge role in the development of our identity, behavior, worldview, and future. When we finally escape that lie/untruth/evil/wrong information then we escape an unhealthy identity, worldview, behavior, and future because we've abandoned a foundational aspect in our lives that was unhealthy. Truth sets us free to live as we ought, to be healthy in our entire being. This is why truth is so important, it sets us right where we perfectly belong. This is also why
humility and the readiness to admit being wrong is important.
So if we give ourselves to something it helps form who we become in this world. If we learn our foundation or pillars which have helped form us are misguided or warped then it becomes a difficult thing to decide we must abandon these foundations or pillars because it demands we abandon a loyalty we've held for a significant amount of time. It demands we change our person and yet we can not know what person such a decision will end up turning us into. If we were wrong before there is danger in being wrong again. However, once we leave the warped foundation or pillars, and in turn, person we had become and we begin the journey into correction there is a freedom which promises that we will be healthier in every way.
So when Christians say Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life it's a very important deal. This is why we place so much emphasis on the issue of identity, transformation, renewal, being born again, and so on. When Christians speak of "repenting" this is what they are referring to. They are speaking of a change in direction, foundation, identity, behavior, future.
May our eyes be opened to the warped pillars that hold up our future and the damaged foundations upon which we stand and build our views, identity, and behaviors. May we be brave enough to let the wrecking ball of truth destroy these disguised curses and allow truth to replace them, providing us with a hope and a healthy standing so that we may bless others and lead them to truth just as one beggars leads another to bread. May we exchange darkness for light, rotten fruit for ripe, and wrong for right... even if it feels like death for a time.