Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Our Truth and God's Truth

Thanks to Christina Aguilera, I finally figured out one possible way to bridge the generation gap between my generation and the next.

Monday night on The Voice she told two of her singers, "You need to find a way to bring out 'your truth.'" In our culture, truth is relative, personal and individual. Like Aguilera says, each person has their own truth. Maybe that helps explain our cultural confusion over things that seem so obvious to me, especially what to do with public restrooms and transgender people.

And that is where the generation gap comes in for me. I have to admit this relative truth makes no sense to a dinosaur like me. I'm a Boomer, and I picked up the "modern" perspective of my parents. For me right and wrong is absolute, it doesn't change because a number of years have gone by and our culture has blurred the lines on what is truth and what is falsehood.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that Jesus claimed pretty much the same thing, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6a). If He is the Truth, then anything different than what He says is falsehood. Again, in the Sermon on the Mount He asserted, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19).

That's why I find myself getting so aggravated when I hear people try to legislate a new morality -- in direct contradiction to the morality God has laid out in the Bible. But that's my generation gap. And it won't help me witness to my child's generation if I stubbornly hold to my absolute truth and try to convince them of their absolute mistake.

Aguilera helped me realize something. She is right. Everyone has his or her own truth: she does, I do, and God does. If there is any such thing as "absolute truth," it is only a valid concept because it is God's truth, and He is the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of this universe who never changes. And that is where I was mistaken in my understanding of absolute truth. For some reason I thought I could separate absolute right and wrong from God. But apart from God, there is no truth. His unchanging truth is determinative of what actual truth and falsehood is. He created us humans in incredible wisdom and undeniable love. He knows how we tick. He knows what is good for us and what will harm us. He did not set forth His Commandments, or rules, or guidelines to limit our self-expression, but rather to protect us from self-delusion and self-destruction.

I can acknowledge that each person has his or her own definition of truth and falsehood. But the only real question is this: Whose truth really matters in the end? I can tell you it isn't the opinion of a group of people, or a generation. It isn't the thinking of a circuit court of appeals, or a state supreme court, or even the United States Supreme Court. It is the will of the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of the entire universe. We will all have to stand before Him one day and give an account of our lives. And then our own simplistic thoughts of right and wrong will all melt away, and only His will stand supreme over all creatures.

But there I go with my absolutes again.

Maybe I don't have to force the next generation to admit my viewpoint is right and theirs is wrong. Instead, I can talk about individual truth in a nonjudgmental way, then share God's truth with them.

Truth. Do you find truth to be a moving target in your life? What's your basis for determining if something is true or not? Does it require physical evidence, some sort of verification? Is taking God at His Word sufficient -- the old "God said it. I believe it. That settles it" frame of mind.

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