I want to learn how to break away from putting faith and trust in civic government. Lent Week 1, Day 3
What is truth?
Seems to be a legitimate question to ask these days. Truth is apparently whatever you believe to be true as long as it is stated loudly and repeatedly by someone else.
Truth is when you read something somewhere that sounds vaguely like something you would agree with.
Truth has become little more than a commodity that is traded freely on the open market.
We currently live in a country where we elect people we know are lying to us. We have come up with some great words to cover over what they are doing: “spin,” “exaggeration,” “double speak,” “putting the best face on the story.”
It is almost as if we don’t care about honesty and integrity anymore. Until a story pops up where we find out someone (usually someone we disagree with) has been caught in a lie. Then we care. But usually, we only care because now our side has been vindicated.
So what is truth? Really?
Jesus and Pilate have a conversation before Jesus is crucified. Pilate asks Jesus that question.
I assume that for Pilate, truth was whatever the Roman Emperor said it was. For Pilate, truth was whatever he said it was in his own little province. Truth was whatever the people with power said it was.
For many years, my truth was that I was controlled by my craving for alcohol. My truth was that I had to drink daily in order to survive. My truth was that I needed to go to any lengths to get my next bottle.
My truth was that I was a worthless human being and the only way I could stop feeling so terrible was to drown my emotion with more alcohol.
Funny thing, though: although that was “my truth,” it was never true. Although the truth for Pilate was that the one with power makes the truth, it was never true.
And although people currently in power in our government say that verified facts are not true and verified falsehoods are true, they are telling us they make the truth. Only no matter how loud they say it, it is not true.
So what is truth?
Jesus doesn’t answer Pilate’s question with words. Jesus goes to the cross. Jesus goes to the tomb. Jesus comes back.
Might makes right? Hardly.
Truth is not determined by our ideology, philosophy, ethnicity, or nationality. Truth is not determined by our echo chambers. Truth is not determined by our political affiliations. In fact, the more tied we are to our politics, the less able we are to actually hear truth.
Pilate asked Jesus question, “What is truth?” and then went ahead and acted according to his truth.
I asked, “What is truth?” and then drowned my existence with alcohol.
Many of us are asking (maybe even demanding) for the truth to come out and then celebrating our political victories and ignoring our political shortcomings.
Maybe we need to follow Jesus’ example. When Jesus hears the question, no words are spoken. Jesus just carried out an act of obedience; an act of love; an act of mercy.
Maybe the truth will come when we quit talking and we start serving.
Maybe the truth will come when we quit trying to find it within our society’s power structures.
Maybe the truth has already come. And we just need to be silent and let go of our need to be right.