The saying goes, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” There’s so much to this, and Jesus’ words have been used in so many different ways, by Christians and non-Christians alike. Truly, speaking truthfully about truth or Truth is no small task and perhaps best done with humility and much care. I will make an attempt, as this concept has been spiraling in my brain and spirit for days. This will all likely be a bit of a mind bender… but after all, truth should not be settled on too easily.
I do believe in truth or – maybe “and” too – Truth. I definitely believe in freedom and that living in truth, speaking truthfully with care not to speak un-truth, and pursuing the true can lead to freedom. The problem is, often what we tell others is Truth, is really truth but not true and is more akin to belief, opinion, or perception. Some things that are true actually DID happen and some things that are true did not happen. So when we offer our truth as THE Truth to someone, for whom it is not true, it doesn’t create freedom it creates division or worse, enslavement. In this regard, I hope everything that I write here can be affirmed as true. I will let you wonder where the big “T’s” and little “t’s” go, and what it really means to differentiate between different kinds of truth.
Jesus prefaces his statement about truth and freedom with “If you remain (abide/continue with) my word (logo – divine-inspired creative speaking), you truly are my disciples.” Jesus, the masterful teacher that he was, assured those who were with him that if they lived into the things he was speaking of, they would come to know the truth and this would lead to freedom. I think any good teacher, who believes in what they are saying and has tuned his or her ear to the movement of the divine would say something similar. Because it is true. Jesus plays with the words and concepts of “truth,” “father,” “belief,” “knowing,” and “death” until those around him wonder what he is talking about and ask “Who ARE you?”
I dare say, we would be wise to learn that words and how they are communicated are powerful and have significant effect. When I speak to my patients, to my family, even to strangers I want to speak freedom-making truth. But if what I am saying is my belief of what is true and not true for all, this sets someone apart from me. Now they have to think about whether they agree or disagree, whether their beliefs are the same or different. While this is not necessarily bad, it is not helpful when I imply that they can’t experience “freedom” like I do unless they assent to my truth.
There is a difference between “Life gives us joy and sorrow, living and dying, healing and sickness. It is possible for us to get through this, to live with this, to learn from this, and find fulfillment” and “God has a plan for us and wants to teach us through our difficulty. He doesn’t give us more than we can bear, and if we put our trust in Jesus, we can find the peace we are looking for.” The former is true is true for all, no matter what they believe and the latter is true for some and requires certain faith, theology, and doctrinal beliefs. I might believe the latter, but unless I say, “In my belief, God has a plan for ME…” and “If I put MY trust in Jesus…” etc, I am potentially offering division rather than an invitation to freedom. If I own it is as my truth, it moves from just being a belief to one that is true for all (i.e. it truly is true that this is my belief and I am aware that it might not be yours).
So what is true is not always truth and what is truth is not always true. Some things that happen are true and some things that happen are not true. Some things that are true didn’t happen and some things that didn’t happen are not true (let’s not try to assert those too much shall we?). Let us be people who vigorously and carefully assert those things that give freedom for all, not just for ourselves. Let us learn to craft our words in inspired ways that can be wholly true and truly freedom-inviting.
4 thoughts on “You shall know the “***”, and the “***” shall…”
Well said my Love. Proud of you.
On Aug 9, 2017 10:09 AM, “Nathan Bettger | Oshkosh, WI” wrote:
> Nathan posted: “The saying goes, “You shall know the truth, and the truth > shall set you free.” There’s so much to this, and Jesus’ words have been > used in so many different ways, by Christians and non-Christians alike. > Truly, speaking truthfully about truth or Truth is n” >
Who is bigger, Goodell or God?
As the NFL season kicks off, I am reminded that if we want to play football in the NFL, we have to play by Goodell’s rules, all 88 pages of them. That is the truth. It really doesn’t matter what you believe about the rules, the truth is that if you want to play football in the NFL, you have to play by the rules. In the case of football, most of us don’t care about living by Goodell’s rules because we are not in that game, nevertheless we understand the connection.
Consider, for a moment, that all of us are in the game of life. That is to say, we are all alive. I propose that it is not a strange concept to believe that God, the Creator of life, has established his rules, his “plan” about how to live life successfully. Like the rules of football, the rules of life (principles, guidelines, and consequences graciously revealed by a loving, saving Father) are true regardless of what we might believe about them. Rather than debating my truth/your truth, we would do well to pursue a greater understanding of God’s truth, his plan, his design. For all of us in the game of life, it is always true.
The only difference between your two paragraphs there is that one is not a matter of belief and the other is. So one is true for all and the other is true for some. Your proposition that it is not “a strange concept” is true… there are lots of people who believe in God as Father, who has a plan for their lives. But there are many who don’t. So, as I noted in my writing, we have to be careful that we don’t say, “My truth is yours too, whether you like it or not.” This is what creates division.
Is there anyone who can say, “This is true,” so that whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, it is true? If such a circumstance exists, would you not agree that carefulness on my part is irrelevant?