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Chapter 28 - Truth
Truth is essential to Christianity because Jesus is truth. Truth is that which is absolute, unchangeable, and the ultimate reality. When heaven and earth pass away, truth will still be there. Being able to see the world with no pretense, distortion, accommodation, or excuse allows one freedom. Every snare and trap is exposed for what they are. Our own shame and ignorance is also exposed. Wisdom will only be useful to one who can see truth. Truth is essential for humility which opens the door to God’s grace.
Truth is not something the timid seek out. Jesus said that continuing in his word would allow his disciples to know the truth and the truth would set them free. Jesus said that those who were “of the truth” would hear his voice. This would mean one for whom truth is essential above all else.
Since truth is absolute, unchangeable, and reality, it does not have to be constructed, only discerned. What makes discernment so difficult is our world is filled with lies. The word “lie” implies intention. However, while there are those malicious, most lies are just echoes of those ignorant, undiscerning, or even well-intentioned.
We live at a time when the pursuit of feelings dominate the social world. We can distort truth to make ourselves feel good, relieve the anxiety of the unknown, or receive the comfort of social approval. Those few who can rouse themselves from the soft comforts of self-deception are able to draw nearer to Christ who is truth. The Christian who would grow to maturity has to reject the temptation to indulge in self-deception even if it results in discomfort.
Satan sets the course of the world. One feature he has used extensively is to use feelings as a way to entice through our flesh our departure from truth. Buddhists capture a little of this when they see the dangers caused by desire. However, when changing desire from the elimination of desire is only an approximation of the solution. The better solution is to exchange selfish desires for selfless ones.
The process of transcendence from selfishness to selflessness is aided by old age. Reality (truth) has a way of forcing itself upon some over the years. As one becomes less attached to this world and life, one can gain freedom from attachments that can blind one to truth, even cherished values and beliefs one has held since childhood.. One can start a path towards truth by questioning what everyone assumes is true to find real truth.
The Christian who grows in his ability to see truth as he matures, also begins to understand how Jesus looked at the world.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. - Matthew 9:36
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