The current division of America is known around the world. The vote for the presidency this week only confirmed it. It won’t evaporate with a change in leadership because what divides us resides within our hearts and minds.
We look at the same statement, event, or set of circumstances, and take away a vastly different view of it. One person sees a small black and white animal and calls it a cat; another calls the same animal a skunk. Neither can understand how the other can be so wrong.
We are baffled by this state of tunnel-visioned polarization. I have been intrigued since it reared its ugly head well before our last election. Many times per week, for over four years, I’ve read articles and listened to people, trying to find the elusive cause. I’ve observed, pondered, and asked God for understanding.
In the end, I realize there are many reasons to account for our great divide, but it can be distilled to this:
People value truth or they do not.
Those who value truth, require it before they draw a conclusion.
Those who don’t, start with their preferred conclusion and stand by it despite the facts. Their priority is their ideology, even if it is an alternative reality, and they reject challenges based on truth.
It’s dangerous territory in the land of alternative reality.
It goes without saying that it lies. It divides. It inflames. It slanders. It misleads. Many are unaware, though, that it damages both the holder of the untruth and the people in their life.
The choice for baseless ideologies allows mentalies and behaviors to become unhinged, unfettered, and ungrounded. It’s a frightening path to nowhere good. The state of relationships and of our nation is proof.
Today, Alex Trebek passed away of pancreatic cancer. His long career as the host of Jeopardy was focussed exclusively on facts and truth. Of alternative reality ideologies, he said this, in an interview with the New York Times, before his death:
“There’s a certain comfort that comes from knowing a fact. The sun is up in the sky. There’s nothing you can say that’s going to change that. You can’t say, ‘The sun’s not up there, there’s no sky.’ There is reality, and there’s nothing wrong with accepting reality. It’s when you try to distort reality, to maneuver it into accommodating your particular point of view, your particular bigotry, your particular whatever — that’s when you run into problems.”
Trabek knew a thing or two about facts. So did Jesus, who said this:
“If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
“‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
If Jesus, and therefore God, is truth, then isn’t it in our best interest to value truth? Can a person be careless and dismissive of any truth and still be faithful to God?
If truth doesn’t matter to a person, but God IS truth, then doesn’t that equate to God himself not mattering to that person?
If a person claims to be a child of God and to prioritize God, but they do not prioritize truth, are they actually who they believe themself to be?
On the other hand, if a person has not (yet?) recognized God as their Father, but they prioritize truth, could it be that God himself calls them his child? It’s not only possible; it is probable. God is Truth. Love Truth and a person automatically loves a core aspect of God.
Truth. God is Truth. Christ is Truth. On Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand. The truth will set us free.
Don’t take truth lightly. It is the core quality of God himself.
To reject truth is to reject God. It is the stance on sinking sand. It is the place of captivity.
It is critical that each person stops to recognize the grave consequences of being careless or dismissive about truth.
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
1 Peter 2:16
Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
2 John 1:1
The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth–and not I alone, but also all who know the truth–