My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 10-22-2020

I am right.  If you disagree with me, you must be wrong.  Since there are no absolutes, my truth is correct unless you are strong enough to take my place.  Then your truth becomes the right absolute truth.  How long?  As long as you protect your back!

Most people become as defensive as Archie Bunker when someone presents anything contrary to their view.  A televangelist does not believe his message is contradictory even though it is different from another TV preacher.  Churches do not believe their doctrines are wrong because they are different from their neighbors.  Few will state that their belief and practice is “a bald-faced lie.” 

We will defend our beliefs to the point of death.  If others insist that they are right, and we are wrong, the claim is that some of their teachings originated with the devil.  One’s truth will cause him to dig in, defend his view, and destroy the destructive and divisive lies of the devil.  This truth outweighs friendship and even family ties.

Is that you?  There is merit to some of those statements.  Who wants to be guilty of believing something untrue, much less be practicing it?  Who desires to lose his battle against what is false?  Who wishes to be aligned with the devil?  The problem has roots that go deeper than we would like to acknowledge.

All of us can point a finger at someone who is “a sinner.”  Our charge would be correct.  However, we also need to understand that we have a sin problem too.  If you believe your sin is a “nice one,” but the other person’s action makes him a lot worse than you are, you could be partially right while also wrong.  Some sins have more consequences than others.  For example, murder removes life from another.  While gossip may not remove life, it may destroy a person’s reputation or kill a friendship.  Some gossiped about Paul’s actions, which led to his arrest (Acts 21:20-21).  Yet, sin has eternal consequences, whether considered “nice” or “terrible.”  The ultimate reward for engaging in sin and refusing to repent, is eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).  The Hebrew writer also points this out in 10:39.

Since most people don’t want to be wrong, a defense is often justified.  One person’s sin may be revealed by another.  In defense of his actions, rather that admit the wrong doing, that person introduces an activity which is equal or worse which the accuser’s friend does.  If the person allows his friend to engage in sin without his reproach, he would be guilty of hypocrisy.  Consistency would demand that the accuser also condemn his friend.  Not wishing to lose that friendship, or have his friend to reveal his shortcomings, he ends his false piety.  This allows both friend and foe to continue in their misdeeds without correction being introduced.  It also includes the accuser in sin by ignoring its continuation.

Paul is known for his dedication and work ethic as a Christian.  Yet, he admits he is a sinner (Romans 7:7-11, 13-16; 1 Timothy 1:15)).  The converted Simon admitted his wrong actions and asked for prayer (Acts 8:19-24).  Peter’s sin caused him to weep (Matthew 26:75).  God could write volumes about our transgressions.  Yet, we understand our problem and bring it before the Lord, recognizing He will forgive and forget.  We may then share this Good News with others.

I’m a sinner.  I asked the same question Paul did, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”  (Romans 7:24).  I discovered his answer and made it mine.  “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25)!  Sometimes one believer needs to help another as Paul did with Peter (Galatians 2:11-16).  If not, the error could have spread and been worse.  Sometimes you do not get in another person’s face but live the truth before him (Acts 21:20-26).  Sometimes events do not demand that a person’s sins be broadcast, because there is a better solution.  Jesus did not remind the woman that she was an adulteress (John 8:4-11).  He did not tell Peter, “I told you so” concerning his denial and language (John 21:15-17).  We do not need to be reminded that we are sinners, just encouraged to accept the cleansing of Jesus. 

If truth is not absolute, then no one ever tells a lie.  What is right for you, is right unless you do not want it to be.  What is wrong for you, is wrong ONLY for you.  Of course, another person’s “right” may get in your face, or yours may insult him.  As long as you are the Supreme Ruler of the world, you are always right.  You are never wrong.  You cannot be judged.  You cannot be corrected.  That is until someone craftier stabs you in the back and takes your place.  Then, that person’s actions would be absolute until his unfortunate demise!   

So, as Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).  If truth is absolute, then the possibility exists that one must know and follow it to live a truthful life.  Since we are all sinners, what is the answer to our fallibility?  Could it be Jesus?