Truth Is Truth
"Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye wouldlove me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, buthe sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear myword. 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 thereis no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is aliar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe menot. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye notbelieve 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 canít have opinions about thetruth" goes the old saying. You would think that as soon as someone stands upand declares the truth that would be the end of it. Itís rarely the case, ofcourse.
Sometimes, differences of opinion are due to the problem oflimited human perception. For example, if two people are standing on oppositesides of a sculpture, they will see some things in common and some thingsdifferently. They can both agree that it is a sculpture, but if they startdescribing the details of what they each see, there will be significantdifferences. If both viewers realize that the differences are a matter ofperspective they can combine their observations and both get a betterunderstanding of what they are looking at. So often, however, people will argueendlessly, refusing to accept the otherís information since, "Truth is Truth!"One of them must be right and the other wrong! On the opposite extreme, peoplewill erroneously conclude that there is no absolute truth, just relativeopinions. This analogy of the sculpture is an example where both attitudes arewrong. Although the descriptions differ in detail, neither of the observers iswrong. And, both are right only because there is something external to them thatboth are seeing. We have to be capable of distinguishing between real conflictsand 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 isanother more subtle and difficult problem to overcome when searching for thetruth. The bigger problem is "self image." This was the problem the Phariseeshad in the passage quoted above. The Pharisees were the teachers of the Law andwere expected to get it right. Their reputation and position in the societywere thus tied up with their knowledge. And, they were quite proud of thatknowledge. Then, along comes Jesus and starts saying things that went againstthe Phariseesí traditions. It wasnít just a matter of perspective in this case.Jesus was flat-out telling them, "You guys are wrong." Even worse, Jesus wassetting himself up as the final authority on what was true. For the Phariseesto accept Jesus, they would have to step-down a notch in their own eyes and acceptJesus as their superior. That was difficult for the Pharisees, to put itmildly.
This is the ultimate test of a personís nature. Whenconfronted with the truth, will they accept the truth because it is true, orwill they reject it in order to preserve their own image?† Do you love truthfor its own sake, even more than your own self-image? If the truth is not moreimportant than your own pride and ego, Jesus says, "You are of your father thedevil."
Well then, how do you know? One dead giveaway is what aperson says in response. Look at the following verse:
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not wellthat thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not adevil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine ownglory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. (Joh 8:48-50)
Did you get that? When people are confronted with truth thatdemonstrates they have been wrong, and, they canít find an argument to counterwith, they always turn to ad hominem attack. If they canít disprove whatJesus says, they attempt to try and discredit the man. If they can discreditthe man, then they feel confident they can ignore what he said, and thuspreserve the self-image. Itís the old attitude of, "Well, maybe I canítdisprove 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 takethe attitude that Jesus had. "I seek not mine own glory," in other words. Itísthe truth that matters and a personís honor is second to the truth and honor isonly possible when they speak the truth. In a sense, it doesnít matter who issaying it, or even why they are saying it, if it is true. Although we do needto be careful of ulterior motives, we canít just dismiss what someone saysbecause of their motives. However, we need some way to test what is said. Weneed some authority that is unquestionable. Thatís what Jesus is giving to ushere. Jesus says, "I am that authority because I only speak Godís word and notmy own words." His words are always true, and can be relied on. This is anotherimportant part of faith. We may not always fully understand the truth we aregiven through Godís word, but because of who said it, we can rely on it. If ourunderstanding, or situation, is different from what God says, our understandingmust be cast aside in favor of what God has said. Thatís what faith is allabout -- trust God over our own self.
What Satan did to cause manís fall was to get Adam and Eveto accept Satanís word over Godís word. We can escape from the fall if and onlyif we reject Satanís lies and cling only to Godís truth. Those who are of Godwill always put Godís word above manís word and will love truth above pride andself image. The Pharisees wouldnít and Jesus saw and declared exactly who theywere. It is that truth that sets us free and we can never be free until we lovethe truth above anything of our self.