What is truth?
Wow. What an amazingly pretentious beginning to a blog. I have no shame. Let’s go there.
Philosophers have pondered its meaning, and religious groups have claimed to possess its sole source. Almost everybody in the first world experiences some form of eye-rolling at its mere mention. I don’t care. I keep thinking that the concept of truth is a good place to start.
About fifteen years ago, I began asking God to tell me the truth, as much as I could handle, as much as I could comprehend. Why would I do such a thing? Perhaps there existed within me a need, a desire for stability. Living is a precarious endeavor. We all have our illusions, the stories we tell ourselves that help us go to sleep at night. We like to believe that we are essentially good, that the things we do are reasonable and rational. In order to be a good, reasonable, rational individual, I must believe that the way I view myself and others is the correct way. This illusion, this story, becomes my personal truth.
But if this peculiar life philosophy, this truth, lends itself not to my benefit, but to my harm or the harm of those who are important to me, I begin to question my version of the truth. This is the situation in which I found myself fifteen years ago. My version of the truth wasn’t delivering. My life felt empty and purposeless. Even though I had aggressively embraced mainstream American Christianity, I felt lost and confused. All I wanted was the truth, because the fabric of my reality was unraveling and wearing thin. Whatever the truth could be, however painful its revelation, it had to be better than the nameless dread that haunted my once-comforting bedtime stories.
That’s what I thought, anyway.
I relate quite well to the rich young ruler who approached Jesus about eternal life in the book of Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses sixteen through twenty-two. The young man had created his own truth, but it must not have been working for him, either. Something felt wrong, and I believe he was sincerely seeking answers. Jesus knew the heart of the Seeker, just as he knew the real answer the man was seeking, even though he didn’t offer it, right away. He gave the young man an out, an easy answer, because the Master knew that the young ruler already knew the truth. The scriptures tell the reader that the young man went away, sorrowful, because the truth was too costly. For all the comforts that surrounded him, he could no longer afford his own illusions.
I suspect, like the rich young ruler, I already knew the truth. Abba gave me an out, an easy answer, because He knew I wasn’t ready to give up a good night’s sleep. He knew that I didn’t want it badly enough to let go of my illusions and trust Him.
How badly do I want the truth? What am I willing to sell to acquire it (Matt. 13:45, 46)?