Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Substance of Truth

Just recently, the truth of what I say was questioned. It eats at me, and I'm going to have to further address it before I can be settled, because if there's anything I don't like, it's being called a liar. Anyone who has been around a liar knows the difficulties that result. I have had my share of time dealing with lying myself. I remember for years thinking that I had a strange way of remembering things differently than I heard that they occurred. Then, probably when I reached about my Tim's age, 11, I realized what I was dealing with was that a person in my life was telling lies and that's why they didn't correspond to what I had experienced. Oftentimes, when the confusion started, I would observe that it went from bad to worse, that one lie would lead to a more incredible one. In one way my discovery was a relief, because suddenly my life started making so much more sense, but in another way it was troubling, because I realized that I couldn't rely on what I was being told--ever. Even when I was being told the truth I had to doubt it. I've always likened it in my head to walking in a big pool of Jello. Isn't it great that the substances we walk on tend to be so solid! Because if it weren't, we wouldn't be able to stand upright, we wouldn't be able to direct our own steps, we would sink in the mire and not be able to get where we were going, at least not without great trouble. I take exception to being called a liar, because I developed such an abhorrence of it growing up.
So great is the confusion when dealing with a liar! If they lie to you once, everything they say after that lacks credibility and it can be a very long time again before they might again establish your trust. Maybe they will never be trusted again. You might as well not communicate with them in the meantime, because it's pointless and confusing. You can't establish anything you do based on what they're saying, because chances are, it won't turn out right. You yourself will be more prone to error when you trust in the words of a liar.
The flip side to lying is great. When you don't tell lies, even the most fantastic thing you say will generally be believed because you are not in the habit of wrecking your credibility; you have developed a reputation for honesty. If you promise something and fulfill it even to your own hurt, then your promise will be relied upon in future times. Others will generally trust you and your own path will be easier because you don't have to establish the things you say; they are already established.
The funny thing about a liar is that they establish their own murkiness in life and don't ever rise above it. Because they lie, they suppose that others lie as well, and they don't ever know the goodness of trusting others and being trusted themselves. The person who doesn't trust you when you tell the truth might well be a liar themselves, because they don't have the delight in being able to trust any aspect of the world around them. They don't live on a foundation, and they don't see any foundation under others either. Their lives are filled with doubt and confusion; they don't know anything different.
Truth, on the other hand, is one of the hallmarks of Christianity; it is one of the things for which Christianity is famous. The gospel is the good news of the Bible, and I think it's telling that the word "gospel" has come to be used as a synonym for truth. I have tested and tried the truths of the Bible that can be used in everyday life; I have found that the things I have been able to apply are true and foundational. I have read various different aspects of the Bible and where some would say they contradict, I instead see how different aspects can complement each other and work together in His truth. I see this because in my testing God's word, it has proven itself to be reliable, so even the more confounding things can be trusted and should bee seen in that light. I guess a love of truth might also be why I like to see things more in terms of black and white rather than in shades of grey: black and white are absolute and definite; shades of grey are cloaked in mystery, indiscernable edges, and doubt. I like absolutes! And God's word is absolutely true. It's like the old hymn says: "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand." I don't have to doubt any more; He has given me a sure foundation on which to stand and I can be certain of Him. I love this all the more because I know what confusion and uncertainty comes with doubt and lies.
John 8:31-33 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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