Obviously, it means that the truth sets you free from something you thought was the truth but some new knowledge has shown it to be false.
If some new knowledge sets you free, then your old belief was some sort of prison that was restricting your freedom in some way. But isn’t that what any belief does? And isn’t that, therefore, what this new belief will do, only in a different way? This new belief will influence your thinking, and influence what decisions you make, for as long as you hold that belief.
How do you feel when someone destroys a belief you have held for a long time? Most people feel threatened and refuse to change the belief. A man named James A Garfield said, “The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable.” This is because discovering a long-held belief is false damages our sense of security and leaves us feeling vulnerable, and maybe miserable, until we can adjust our thinking and actions to fit in with this new truth.
I think it was Einstein who said a new truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed; then it is fiercely rejected; but then it is accepted as self-evident.
These thoughts of Garfield and Einstein don’t help much because they still leave us with the problem of each new belief being just a different prison. However it is possible to have the security that goes with having set beliefs and at the same time have a sense of freedom. The words of Clarence Darrow sum up what that would look like when he said, ”The pursuit of truth will set you free, even if you never catch up with it.” But the last word goes to Gandhi who taught that freedom comes from living what you believe to be true while you search for a bigger truth.