It’s a very special thing – the truth. I realize that I’ve often not appreciated all of its power. Looking back at many of my conversations with other believers, I see that others have underestimated the power of the truth, as well. I see that it’s a more wide-spread problem that one might think at first.
What am I on about… Well, it began with the question – Do I really need to prove the truth when I talk about my faith with non-believers? This has always bothered me, but over the years of my Christian life I’ve continually been taught how to defend the truth. So I presumed that the truth needs to be defended, proven, protected. Well, it doesn’t. The truth remains what it is independently of one’s choice to fight against it or to rejoice with it.
Recall some of your conversations with non-believers and try to see how often you were sat there trying to prove why the message of the bible is true, why this or that aspect of the Christian faith is true… why one should live by the values which a given person demonstrated thousands of years ago in a land far away, under a culture so remote from ours. Sometimes it might help to lay out a bit of evidence on the table, but I feel that Christians experience a certain sense of guilt if they aren’t able to properly defend their faith, the truth (as if there were a measurement for “proper defense”).
It’s not our task to prove/defend the truth. The truth of God doesn’t need to be proven or defended. It stands firmly on its own and nothing or nobody can change it. Our task is to communicate the truth with compassion, to tell it as it is in a relevant way.
Do you see how liberating and empowering this is? Instead of trying to come up with all kinds of arguments about why the truth is the truth, focus on actually telling what the truth is. That’s what Jesus did and as far as I can see it worked. Yes, every now and then He explained things in a bit more detail and threw in some references, but I don’t get the impression that He ever felt cornered by the questions and in need to rationally prove that what he said is the truth. He simply said: I tell you the truth. And then told it to them.
See how he replies to the religious leaders who are demanding a sign, a sort of a proof in Matthew 16:1-4. Or even more clearly – in Matthew 26:64, when the high priest is asking Him whether He is the Christ. He basically says, yes, I am and this is what else is going to happen. As opposed to “yes, and let me convince/explain to you why” which is what we often end up doing. The same happens a little later when Jesus is questioned by Pilate. The ultimate example is when Jesus is hanging on the cross, dying a slow and agonizing death knowing that while nobody fully understands it at this moment, in a little while things will change and many will no longer need any proof.
What we’re often doing is similar to pushing your car, while all you need to do is pour in fuel and turn the key. Pushing your car is much slower and will certainly not get you as far. Just give your car all it needs in order to run and it will run. A push-start might be necessary every once in a while, but it certainly isn’t the intended method of propelling it forward.
Don’t worry about the truth itself and whether it will stand the test (it will). Instead, focus on giving people what they need in order to “run” properly – tell them the truth as it is. With some a “push-start” might be necessary every once in a while, but for the long run, all we need is the steadfast truth itself. Those who seek to find it – they will embrace it and rejoice with it. Sadly, others might keep fighting against it. The truth, however, will remain forever.