I’ve been reading Love Matters More: How Fighting to Be Right Keeps Us from Loving Like Jesus by Jared Byas (Zondervan). Byas recounts the story about three blind men bumping into an object in the jungle. One declared that it was a tree. Another, a rope. The third, a wall. Turns out it was an elephant. They were just touching different parts of the elephant (trunk, tail, side) and were each certain they were telling the truth. And why wouldn’t they feel that way?
My follow-up would be, “What happened next?” A fight? Polarization? A forum to find common ground? A few clarifying questions, which could have made a difference?
(As an aside, I think we sell questions short. Did you know Jesus asked 307 questions in the Bible? He was asked 183, and directly answered three. Asking questions was part of his wisdom.)
But back to the topic at hand. In our post-truth era, I think about truth a lot. I ask God a lot of questions. I guess I’m a lifelong learner. (As another aside, even Jesus was a lifelong learner. “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered…” Heb. 5:8.) Should I expect to get a pass?
As I watch different factions argue over what they are absolutely certain about, I think of the elephant. As I watch religious people put being right over pretty much anything else, I think of Jesus, who prioritized love over defending his truth, even at his own death sentence trial.
Byas argues that truth isn’t the opposite of falsehood; it’s the opposite of wickedness. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
Truth is hard to pin down. It depends on perspective and interpretation. Even though I believe the Bible contains absolute truth, it’s still subject to interpretation. After all, humans are the recipients. On the flip side, lies abound. Sometimes people make something up and say it so often, others start believing it. They know exactly what they’re doing and it’s cruel. But when you bring love into the equation, that changes everything. John 8:32 ~ “The truth will set you free.”