“What is Truth?”
Jesus said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” And Pilate answered, “What is truth?” John 18:37-38, NIV
Have you noticed? The temperature in the air is cooling and the leaves on the trees are changing colors. These two transitions remind us that “fall” is here, once again, and, oh, what a lovely time of year it is, indeed. Even in Florida, the sweltering heat begins to lift and makes room for cooler days and nights. Although what we see taking place in the atmosphere looks like “change,” this change is all part of the bigger truth that never changes: every fall season, the temperature cools and the leaves fall from the trees. Therefore, this “truth” is objective, not subjective.
The current culture would like everyone to believe that each person can have their own truth. You may have heard the expression, your truth is not my truth, as though truth is relative and subjective. Friend, while you and I can disagree on substantive issues, if we do not agree, then one of us is either correct and the other mistaken, or we can both be mistaken but we cannot both be correct. This idea may sound like a tongue twister but if you think about the rationale for a moment, I think you will agree with it. If I like the color blue and you do not, this is an example of subjective truth because our choices are not relevant to anything that constitutes the need for a universal understanding.
When Jesus said to Pilate, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Jesus narrowed down the choices of what is true to one thing, listen to me. Pilate obviously missed hearing there is only one option, because he asks, “What is truth?” In that moment, Pilate had a choice but according to Jesus only one choice is true and the other, by obvious deduction, is false. Today’s culture wants everyone’s choices accepted and validated, unless, of course, one does not agree with the culture, then, that person or that otherness thinking is considered narrow-minded and unloving. Christians are followers of Jesus Christ and, while He calls us to love others as we love Him and ourselves, but love is sometimes having to say, I don’t agree with you; and our disagreement should be based on a deep understanding of the life and example of Jesus.
In the book of John 8:1-11, the religious leaders, hoping to back Jesus into a corner and make Him either side with their “narrow thinking” or appear discredited, brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. According to the Jewish law, women (not men, which I believe Jesus addressed in the story that follows) who were caught in adultery were to be stoned to death. As the woman waits, no doubt half naked, Jesus bends down and with His finger, writes something in the dirt, after which, the men one by one drop the stones and walk away, leaving the woman and Jesus alone. Jesus asks, “Woman…has no one condemned you?” She says, “No one, sir.” Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you, Go, and leave your life of sin.” I like to think that what Jesus is writing in the dirt are the names of each man holding a stone and listing their sins of adultery, according to God. Whatever He wrote, He did not let the woman leave believing she was okay to continue her dangerous lifestyle. Why? Because He loved her too much to agree that her truth was His truth.