Truth Is Truth



"Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." (Joh 8:42-47)

Truth is Truth! Right? "You can't have opinions about the truth" goes the old saying. You would think that as soon as someone stands up and declares the truth that would be the end of it. It's rarely the case, of course.

Sometimes, differences of opinion are due to the problem of limited human perception. For example, if two people are standing on opposite sides of a sculpture, they will see some things in common and some things differently. They can both agree that it is a sculpture, but if they start describing the details of what they each see, there will be significant differences. If both viewers realize that the differences are a matter of perspective they can combine their observations and both get a better understanding of what they are looking at. So often, however, people will argue endlessly, refusing to accept the other's information since, "Truth is Truth!" One of them must be right and the other wrong! On the opposite extreme, people will erroneously conclude that there is no absolute truth, just relative opinions. This analogy of the sculpture is an example where both attitudes are wrong. Although the descriptions differ in detail, neither of the observers is wrong. And, both are right only because there is something external to them that both are seeing. We have to be capable of distinguishing between real conflicts and apparent conflicts caused by differences of perspective and experience. That explains why we sometimes have difficulty finding the truth of a thing.

Limited perspective is difficult enough, but there is another more subtle and difficult problem to overcome when searching for the truth. The bigger problem is "self image." This was the problem the Pharisees had in the passage quoted above. The Pharisees were the teachers of the Law and were expected to get it right. Their reputation and position in the society were thus tied up with their knowledge. And, they were quite proud of thatknowledge. Then, along comes Jesus and starts saying things that went against the Pharisees' traditions. It wasn't just a matter of perspective in this case. Jesus was flat-out telling them, "You guys are wrong." Even worse, Jesus was setting himself up as the final authority on what was true. For the Pharisees to accept Jesus, they would have to step-down a notch in their own eyes and accept Jesus as their superior. That was difficult for the Pharisees, to put it mildly.

This is the ultimate test of a person's nature. When confronted with the truth, will they accept the truth because it is true, or will they reject it in order to preserve their own image? Do you love truth for its own sake, even more than your own self-image? If the truth is not more important than your own pride and ego, Jesus says, "You are of your father the devil."

Well then, how do you know? One dead giveaway is what a person says in response. Look at the following verse:

Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. (Joh 8:48-50)

Did you get that? When people are confronted with truth that demonstrates they have been wrong, and they can't find an argument to counter with, they always turn to ad hominem attack. If they can't disprove what Jesus says, they attempt to try and discredit the man. If they can discredit the man, then they feel confident they can ignore what he said and preserve the self-image. It's the old attitude of, "Well, maybe I can't disprove what you say, but because you are so _____ I can safely ignore it!" Fill in the blank with whatever you think would discredit a person - stupid, crazy, ugly, lazy, Baptist, Catholic, New-Age, or whatever.

When a person is speaking the truth, they can and will take the attitude that Jesus had. "I seek not mine own glory," in other words. It's the truth that matters and a person's honor is second to the truth and honor is only possible when they speak the truth. In a sense, it doesn't matter who is saying it, or even why they are saying it, if it is true. Although we do need to be careful of ulterior motives, we can't just dismiss what someone says because of their motives. However, we need some way to test what is said. We need some authority that is unquestionable. That's what Jesus is giving to us here. Jesus says, "I am that authority because I only speak God's word and no tmy own words." His words are always true, and can be relied on. This is another important part of faith. We may not always fully understand the truth we are given through God's word, but because of who said it, we can rely on it. If our understanding, or situation, is different from what God says, our understanding must be cast aside in favor of what God has said. That's what faith is all about -- trust God over our own self.

What Satan did to cause man's fall was to get Adam and Eveto accept Satan's word over God's word. We can escape from the fall if and only if we reject Satan's lies and cling only to God's truth. Those who are of God will always put God's word above man's word and will love truth above pride and self image. The Pharisees wouldn't and Jesus saw and declared exactly who they were. It is that truth that sets us free and we can never be free until we love the truth above anything of our self.




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