Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

This year I have felt a little bit like an explorer on an quest to discover something. This "something" has evaded many a brave soul for many a year. Some explorers never stumbled upon it, but I think I'm onto it. 

The truth.

Ultimately, what is truth?

"Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away."          -Elvis Presley 
"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light." -George Washington
"There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth." -Leo Tolstoy 
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." -Vladimir Lenin 
"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."       -Mark Twain
As you can see, truth has been the object of much thought for all of human history. In America today, truth is subjective. It is no longer an absolute. Is the media honest? Are politicians telling us the truth? (Ha Ha.) We all know that a lot of the time, money or power or threats can change the truth or slant it how the most powerful would have it.
So what are we to believe? How can we know the truth, the real truth?

First of all, truth is not subjective. Sorry, culture. There is a truth, or rather, there is a person who is truth Himself. This would be Jesus Christ, who is God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" John 14:6. Truth is not subjective when we have the words of the one who is truth Himself. 

While Jesus was on this earth, He told us the truth. He actually was really into it! He was all about it! Don't get me wrong, Jesus knew how to love people. He is also Love personified. But in His love for all people, He would not let them ignore the truth.

People think that sharing truths from God and from His word make Christians intolerant. In fact, this makes some Christians afraid to speak out about God. We don't want to offend anyone, after all. But this is not Jesus' way. He spoke the truth in love to all who would listen. This is what we are called to do. 

There is a story in the Bible many are familiar with of the woman at the well. In John 4, Jesus encounters this woman, a Samaritan. This introduces racial tension to the story too. Jesus was a Jewish man, a teacher, someone who was to keep themselves holy. Jews did not like Samaritans. (They had history.) Jews of this time would even take the long route to avoid going through Samaria. It was serious disgust. 

Jesus was not afraid to go through Samaria to get to Galilee, and he found himself in a town, at the well, at noon. It was hot. This was not the time for women to come to the well to draw water because it was the hottest part of the day. But here was a Samaritan woman and Jesus.

This woman was an outcast even among her own culture. That's why she was the only at the well during the hottest part of teh day. Still, Jesus asked her to give him a drink. Gasp!

She was suprised that Jesus would even speak to her, for it was not proper. But Jesus was and is never concerned about what is socially acceptable. He had a divine appointment for this Samaritan woman.

What ensued was a conversation about water. Jesus said, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, gibing them eternal life" (John 4:13-14).

The woman was interested! She wanted this eternal water so she would never again have to come to the well. She would never again have to feel her shame there at that public watering hole. 

So, Jesus talked to her, he offered her a gift, an even better gift than she could understand. He loved her in spite of their differences.

Here comes the truth part.

"'Go and get your husband,' Jesus told her" (John 4:16).

The woman said she did not have a husband. Jesus already knew this, for He knows every detail about all of us.

"Jesus said, 'You are right! You don't have a husband--for you have five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!'" (John 4:17-18).

Did you catch that? Jesus pointed out her sin. He loved her too much to allow her to live in sin any longer. He then tells her what to do about it.
"But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
So what is the truth? 

  • Jesus is truth.
  • God's word is truth.
  • It is loving to tell the truth.
  • It is not intolerant to tell the truth or stand for the truth.  
  • God wants us to live in the truth, because, "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
It's this freedom that we all really want, even if you don't know it yet or can't put it into words. It's the freedom from sin's ugliness. It's freedom from the feelings of shame and guilt. It's freedom from having to compete with others and to be measured by the world's ever changing standards. 

It's freedom to live life in the way that Jesus wants for each of us. In fact, it's one of the main reasons He came to this earth.
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
And so, this is the truth I know, on my quest for abundant life.