Why do we feel threatened when someone challenges our beliefs? Are we afraid they’ll deceive us? Maybe we’re afraid to discover we’re already deceived.
If we’re on a long trip passing through unfamiliar territory, and a stranger tells us we’re headed the wrong way, do we get defensive? Don’t we thank him for the concern … and get out our map?
The way of truth can be daunting. It takes a little humility to admit we don’t know it all yet, that someone else might be able to help. Taking offense or feeling threatened when someone challenges us is really saying we’re more about looking good as we travel than getting to our destination.
God says, “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Pr 23:23) Truth, wisdom, instruction, understanding … it’s priceless. Get all you can, from any source you can, any time you can.
Consider the whole counsel of God, compare scripture with scripture; toss everything which contradicts any portion of God’s Word. Hide it in your heart and meditate on it day and night, so you can discern truth from error.
Let’s not be gullible, but let’s be truly open to thoughtful souls who see things differently than we do, and honestly consider opposing views in their strongest possible form. Let’s not be afraid of being wrong, but staying that way.
One thought on “Buy the Truth”
I’m the only one who’s going to die with my beliefs. It really doesn’t matter if anyone else agrees with me, or if everyone in the world agrees with me. If I’m right I’m right, and if I’m wrong I’m wrong. But this really isn’t the point.
The point is this: Do I know God as well as I can, and am I walking with Him as closely as I can?
This goal is, clearly, to not just be technically correct in doctrine and practice, but also to be aligned in spirit with YHWH in my motives and ambitions, in my thoughts and feelings as well as in my actions, loving Him, and loving my neighbor as myself.
There are two goals I ought to have in any spiritual discussion:
1. Find more truth for myself as I invite others to challenge my thinking and beliefs, so that I can be more aligned with YHWH in spirit and in truth.
2. Help others who are searching for truth to find more of it, so they can also be more aligned with YHWH.
This process is called “edification;” it is both messy and glorious, and it is the work all believers are called to be about as we assemble together and interact with each other.
The goal isn’t to try to make others see my point, or to get others to agree with me, or to exalt myself in winning an argument, or merely to be different or unique or peculiar. Those who have this aim are, I think, doomed to continual frustration and isolation.
There will likely be those engaged in discussion who don’t have the same goal I do, who are running a different race than I am, at least for now, and I must let them run their race as they see fit. If they want to ignore the course God has designed and make up their own as they go, I must let them; I can’t stop them and I shouldn’t try. My duty is to love them, pray for them, honor them, offer truth to them as I pursue truth for myself, and give them freedom to disagree with me.
I can always learn something helpful and/or valuable from engaging with others in most any discussion, especially if my “opponents” have any real appearance of being earnest truth seekers themselves. Win, lose or draw in the debate itself, I always walk away a winner, in that sense.
There is freedom in offering truth to others with an open hand rather than a clenched fist. We’re all beggars when it comes to truth, only having what we’ve been graciously given. Freely we’ve received; we ought to freely give.
There may be those among us who don’t love the truth, or who aren’t ready to hear certain truths; we can’t ever know another’s heart for sure and we shouldn’t presume that we do. Indeed, there are certain truths we each need before other truths can be accepted, before we’re ready for certain other truths, and we likely have no idea what truths we or others need at any given point in time. Only God knows this.
We must be content to seek the truth as well as we can, learn what we can from each other, offer what truth we think we have to each other, and humbly let others challenge us with their very best arguments to see if we can learn even more in the process.
We must do all of this in love, in freedom, with the purpose of knowing YHWH better, and helping others who want the same.