"What is Truth?"
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus that question years ago, and Christians have been engaged in a war ever since, to proclaim that truth does exist, and is absolute.
But in our quest to enforce and promote absolute truth, in our warfare against moral relativism, we have begun to worship truth for its own sake. We’ve begun to put truth on a higher level than people (whom truth is given for), and even on a higher level than God Himself (who is love).
In my conversations and in my blogs, I find myself having to try and "scold" grown people for insisting that every man’s truth is valid. Obviously, every man’s truth can not be true, because eventually one "truth" contradicts another. The ridiculousness of relative truth is self-evident.
But in this, I find myself becoming less in love with people, and more in love with enforcing truth. In what often seems like a mortal combat against falsehood, the truth becomes a weapon and not a support.
The Pharisees made the same mistake. The sect of the Pharisees apparently began because many zealous Jews wanted to see their people return to the rule of the Old Testament law. So in their obsession to make sure that truth was obeyed and enforced, they put the law on a higher pedestal than the love that the law was meant to promote. Thus they became the hard-hearted people Jesus rebuked, when he said "you weigh people down with burdens that you yourselves won’t move a finger to lift."
\Speaking of absolute truth, let\’s look at a book in the bible dealing with the truth. When Paul and Timothy, his protege, went on their missionary journeys, Paul went on from Ehpesus to Macedonia, and left Timothy in Ephesus to make sure that no false doctrine was preached. The beginning of 1 Timothy contains a charge for Timothy to remember his mission there: keep the truth the standard and put down false doctrines.
An interesting statement comes after this charge. "The end of this commandment is LOVE." We can’t imagine that Paul and Timothy’s whole mission was to slavishly, combatively promote truth for its own sake. Their ultimate end was to see God’s humanity find their freedom and joy and love in the savior, Christ.
In all the commands of the bible, it is easy to become lost in the dos and don\’ts and forget that when Jesus walked the earth he scolded the Pharisees for their insistance upon the law, minus the love of the law. God is highly compassionate (though he is a judge), and his ultimate goal is to love his creation.
Does absolute truth exist? Absolutely. Is it ridiculous to play semantics with truth, and say "what is true for me may not be true for you?" Yes. But in all our pursuits, love should be the ultimate end, as it was for Timothy and Paul. Compassion should be our standard, as it was for Christ. Absolute truth was not given for its own sake, it was given for ours. As Jesus said, "the sabbath was meant for man, not man for the sabbath."
If I’ve held absolute truth over your head, or scolded you for an untruth, or seemed to humiliate someone by beating them over the head with the truth of scripture, I humbly and compassionately apologize. What I long for is to see you find the freedom the truth offers, not to enslave you by it.
"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." -Jesus