One of my work colleagues—let’s call her Kristie—is on a self-confessed journey of converting from Judaism to selected aspects of Buddhism. Last month, while we were waiting for a flight in the Qantas Club, Kristie described to me how she is creating her new designer spirituality based on what she likes. When I asked her how truth fits into the picture, she mused that after sixty years, she has reached the conclusion that truth really does not matter that much. In her evolving thinking, abandoning truth releases her to live and believe anything. For someone who does not believe in a creator, Kristie has reached a logically consistent conclusion which she finds personally comforting.
In response to Kristie’s proclamation, it seemed somewhat pompous to declare that she has it wrong and I had it right. If truth does not matter, or if it is determined in our own minds, how could I say that my opinion is any more righteous than her opinion. Or vice versa? Even though I had previously tried, it was impossible to have a relevant discussion about Jesus, until we establish that there is a universal truth established by a universal God.
However, if absolute truth exists outside of our minds, then there cannot be seven billion different interpretations on this earth. If truth has an origin outside of my opinion, then and only then, can I say a certain belief or action is right or wrong. In that scenario, I am not assuming my opinion is better, but I am being a messenger for a pre-set and self-existing standard of truth. In that scenario, the paradigm has shifted from being a journey of self-discovery to one of God-discovery. In order to make such a declaration, I must have a few things in place.
#1 External evidence of truth which transcends a Mexican standoff of opinion equality (Scripture itself and Creation in general)
#2 An attitude which does not exalt my opinion above her opinion (genuine love and compassion)
One of the taglines of InFocus has been “Truth in Large Doses.” It is essential that we seek truth, not as defined by ourselves, but as defined by the creator of truth (Genesis 1-3). Furthermore, it is possible to mentally understand truth while failing to live and communicate truth. How many times have the most bold proclamations of gospel truth been lacking love and compassion and consistency? In other words, how many times have we proclaimed the right message in the wrong way? I see a few possible dangers at this point.
#1 We can berate the lost with Scripture as our weapon under the guise that Scripture will not return void.
#2 We can try to become so loving and so compassionate that we fail to adequately declare truth at all.
Both of these responses are wrong when we are trying to be right. We must confidently give an answer of our hope, without elevating ourselves with pride. Becoming “unashamed of the gospel” is an art not a science. It is an art that the Holy Spirit teaches, not one that is canned in a four-step gospel tract.
My spiritual conversations with Kristie have been ongoing for several years. The nature of our relationship is one where these conversations will continue. I have no idea whether the Holy Spirit will lift the veil on her eyes so she can see truth. However, I do pray for this. I also pray for God’s wisdom for not only the right message, but also the right medium. I ask that you would join me in praying to this end.