Monthly Archives: June 2011

Truth is Organic

Truth is Organic

What’s “Organic”?  Organic is a word that’s been pretty heavily twisted by modern product manufacturers, wouldn’t you agree?  Take the diaper here… I have nothing against the Bum Genius company, I’m quite sure they make great products… but is this diaper really organic?  Did it sprout right out of the ground like that?  Did they use no machine processes, refinements, extractions, glues, etc… to produce this?  Where in the industrial manufacturing process does a product cease to become “organic” and simply become a product?


Now that’s a little nicer.  A beautiful little sprout coming up from what appears to be rich black soil.  The arrangement of the hands would have you believe that this guy took close personal care of this plant throughout it’s entire lifecycle…. he planted it with his finger, he watered it by cupping handfuls of water from the nearby stream and running them over to the garden, he fertilized it with his organic cow’s waste matter, he read it bedtime stories, he sang to it, he sheltered it from the scorching hot sun on the hottest days by cutting off his hippie long hair and fashioning it into a woven canopy made of hemp and bamboo.

Right?

The idea of “Truth” and honesty in our world is just like the idea of “Organic”.  How do you know which “truth” is true?  When you say something to anyone else… are you telling them the almost truth or the full truth?  Are you knowingly withholding information that would be important to them?  Is that the same as lying, or is it still true if they don’t ask you specifically about that one thing?

This is not a rant about “modern society”… I think the problem of absolute truth vs. relative truth is centuries old.  Actually, I know it is.

I’m guilty of telling the “almost truth”.  All of us are – I’m quite sure, at one time or another.  Spurgeon said about Discernment – “Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather, it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”  The same could be said for Truth and Absolute Truth.  Is there such a thing as Absolute Truth?

Are humans capable of knowing and telling absolute truth?

What is Absolute Truth?

ab·so·lute

noun /ˈabsəˌloot/  /ˌabsəˈloot/
absolutes, plural

  • A value or principle that is regarded as universally valid or that may be viewed without relation to other things
    • – good and evil are presented as absolutes
  • That which exists without being dependent on anything else
  • Ultimate reality; God

So Absolute Truth is something that must be true, no matter what other CIRCUMSTANCES there are around it.  It’s a fact that is universally valid.  It’s something that exists even beyond our human capacity to understand and reason and remains true even when we can’t comprehend it from a single perspective.

Can we dwell on this a little more?  My starting inspiration for this post was a conversation I held with one of my students a few days ago.  He was attempting to dispell upon me a common thread in humanity and something I’ve practiced myself on MANY occasions.  I call it Rationalized Truth.

A few months ago I had asked this student “Are you honoring God in your relationship with your girlfriend?”

Now, I’ve known this student for years… and I know he knows what that means.  To honor God in your relationship means very simply:  Are the things you’re doing with this person, thinking about this person, talking about with this person, etc… are they God-honoring things – all of them.

At that time – a few months ago, he lied to me when he said “Yes, I’m honoring God in my relationship.”  He later revealed to me that he had, indeed, been having sex with his girlfriend… but only after getting caught.

You should know – this is really a GREAT kid.  He’s chasing after God, he’s trying to learn what it means to live a God-honoring life.  I really love him like my own son.  He’s just…. typically human.  My point was not to “punish” him for having sex.  My point was to hold him accountable to a higher standard.  You should know that he previously asked me to be the one that held him accountable.  It would be much easier for me to brush off his dishonesty in favor of maintaining my relationship with him – but that’s not what I was called to do… and what kind of relationship would that be then?

So in another conversation I had with him far more recently where I had to confront him about another lie, I brought up that his behavior over the last few months had been untrustworthy.  He disagreed and rationalized that he didn’t lie to me about his relationship with his girlfriend because I never “specifically asked about sex.”  Of course, I lovingly let him have it.  I’d be doing him a gigantic disservice in life to allow him to think that rationalized truth is acceptable truth.

How many of us do this though, and how often do we rationalize away the truth?  We say to ourselves… nobody will know that I did this… I don’t need to tell anyone… it doesn’t hurt anyone if I lie just this one time… I’m protecting him from the truth… a lie will be much more pleasant for him… if he doesn’t ask me specifically, I don’t have to tell him… right… if I withhold a little information, that’s not the same as lying… is it?

I do this, you do this, we all do this.

The objective of my post is to recognize that any truth other than Absolute Truth is comprised of sin.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Work on this:

The origin of sin is pride-conceit.  Do you disagree?  Another subject for another time… My contention is that all sin originates with pride.  You are showing PRIDE(conceit) when you practice rationalized truth or “white lies” because you are placing your own personal idea of “right” over the absoluteness of the actual facts, the pure truth.  You are – in effect saying – my opinion on this situation is more important than the true facts of the matter.  You’re placing your own perspective and/or emotional feelings about the matter ABOVE the importance of the actual truth.  All along you know what the facts are, the immutable truth… but you decide through false rationalization and pride that your ideas are better.

If you’re a Christian, you should know that God does not play games with the truth.  He does not nod, grin, and turn his head away from you sheepishly when you say “Oh, it’s ok God because he didn’t ask me specifically”.

Why?  Why is this important to my life today?

Try it.  I dare you to try it and find out.  Try living a life of 100% truth and honesty in everything you say and do and see for yourself what I’m talking about.  Try it for an hour.  Then a day.  Then a week.  It takes practice!  As people in modern society we’re VERY accustomed to living in the darkness.  Once you get used to it, it’s actually a breeze!

Here’s what you’ll find and what I’ve found in real everyday practice when you seek and tell the full truth all the time:

*  Life is easier.  You never have to worry about which lie you told to who, what secrets you’re supposed to keep or perpetuate, or how you can justify your guilt to this person.  Anxiety and Stress decrease.

*  Respect and Love from others becomes Epic.  Do you want to become a Leader?  People naturally follow (without being told)… they actually desire to follow other people that they perceive to have integrity.  God (not so) secretly constructed the human psyche to work this way… so that true leaders would emerge from a society organically, without being forced.  Do you disagree?  Study some history – which were the best leaders to their people – who took the best care of them?  Relationships improve dramatically and people take you seriously for the first time ever.

*  Shame and Guilt rarely have a grip on you.  Maybe you’ve told so many lies that you’ve become accustomed to constantly being disappointed with yourself.  You may have even grown somewhat numb to the idea…. but if you’re numb to this, then you’re also numb to empathy and Love.  You cannot give and receive Love and Affection (something we all desire)… you cannot be intimately connected with anyone in any relationship… if you’re so numb from shame that you can’t feel much of anything anymore.  Pain decreases, sensitivity increases.

*  You can KNOW God’s will for your life!  You can UNDERSTAND his actions in your life!  Who wouldn’t want that?  The Bible promises this… that if we live a quality relationship with Jesus Christ, that we can know God’s will… that he will share it with us.  Living a quality relationship with a perfectly Holy God means knowing what Absolute Truth means and not being shy about it.  It means (of course) much more than that as well, but this is an important aspect.  Don’t confuse having a quality relationship with Jesus with your Salvation.  You can be saved but live the rest of your life mostly in the dark.  This is next-level stuff for the already saved.  God wants you to live victoriously TODAY… he WANTS that relationship of lasting Joy, Love, and Fulfillment for you.  It starts with Honesty.  It is impossible without Truth.

*  The Holy Spirit?  You can’t hear it if you’re covering it up with lies and rationalization!  It’s power can’t infect you and perform miracles with your hands!  In order to be used by God, in order to accomplish more than you ever thought possible on your own through the power of the Holy Spirit, you have to submit to it.  You can’t be submitting to the Holy Spirit if you’re suppressing it with pride or sin.

and so much more.

Look – here’s the connection point – even if telling the truth gets you fired.  Even if it ends a friendship for you.  Even if it means going to jail…. God will not fail to defend you.  He will not fail to accompany you, protect you, Love you, fulfill you – when you’re living in the truth.  He promises this!  You can depend on it because… God doesn’t lie.  He doesn’t Rationalize.  He doesn’t tell half-truths.  If you’re living righteously, you don’t have to worry about the consequences of the truth.  You can trust that God will take care of the details.

I admit, I’m not always successful at this.  The more I have practiced it though, the easier it’s become.  The more I’ve accomplished it, the more sensitive I am to the times when I fail.  The more I feel peace and strength around knowing the full truth, the more adamant I feel about dismissing lies and deceit from my life and my home.  I’m convicted, absolute truth is the only way to live a good life.  Anything except this will keep you from all the joy and purpose that God has planned for you.  Don’t wait, start today.  There’s only one source for Absolute Truth.  No human can be trusted, no human is quite right enough.  Many are “almost right”, but none are perfect.  Just Him alone!

—–

A short aside of clarification:  Telling the FULL Absolute Truth is not the same as “telling it like it is”.  If you have a critical heart for those around you, constantly pointing out someone’s faults and errors is not the same as telling the absolute truth.  It’s just being mean.  If you need help discerning this difference, please pray for help with an open repentant heart and know in faith that you’ll get it.  Stay in The Word and use Jesus as your example of what is Truth and what is just mean.  Do this faithfully and reliably and consistently and it won’t be long before you start acting like Him!

—–

The real truth IS Organic.  It comes naturally without our ‘help’.  It is not twisted, modified, refined, chemically altered, or even touched by human hands in any way.  It is simply consumed by us and/or delivered by us, but it cannot be generated by us.  It can only come directly from God.  You’ll know you’re hearing or telling the Absolute Truth when you think “There’s no question in my mind at all that this is universally true.”  It blesses your body, your mind and your soul when you receive it and it blesses others when you deliver it.  It brings and multiplies peace, healing, comfort, strength, growth and Love.  It brings all those aspects that the marketing agency behind Bum Genius Organic Diapers wants you to believe you get when you buy their product… only it comes without your money… and without your effort because it can only come from Him, the one true source of Absolute Truth and Love.

Friends, there are so many scripture references about Honesty and Truth in the Bible that I pulled from to write this that I couldn’t possibly fit all of them in here.  Here’s but one resource.  The word of God is powerful, far more so than my words.  If you read nothing above, please read this instead!

Not every post will be like this… I promise.  I’m not just here to get on a soap box and write sermonettes… only when I feel REALLY convicted to do so!  😉

Thanks for your time… please comment, ask, disagree or correct me!


Hot Now?

Hot Now?

In October 2009, my wife died.  In a hospital bed in the ICU at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette, Colorado surrounded by talented and competent staff, loving family and myself – she died.  After putting up a tedious, suffering, torturous 3 week unreal battle against H1N1, Acute Pneumonia and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) as a complication – she finally rested.  The good (?) news was that God gave into my selfish requests and protests and allowed her to stay.  He resurrected her right there, in front of all the doctors and nurses and family.  She is with me today and walks as a miracle – without oxygen support, without continued complication.  She is actually overall in better health condition than she was before the event.  This was well outside of medical odds  – beyond a 5 sigma event and possibly approaching a 10 when you factor her recovery with her other medical conditions and complications (the data sample in my research is too small though to mathematically conclude this).

During that time, I began writing.  I wrote about my experiences with her, with my children and most of all in my battle with God to understand and to seek strength and endurance.  My intent at that time was wholly selfish:  To disseminate updates about my wife to her throng of loving family and friends, to pick a bone with my spirituality and to vent my emotions in a way that didn’t feel like I was whining to anyone in particular.  It turns out that a small multitude of people read these blog-like entries and thought my writing was “ok”.  I am told that they found inspiration and strength in the same places that I discovered it.  I think and hope that they found spiritual relevance.  That they found God’s truth in our family’s suffering spelled out clearly in their own heart’s tongue1.  As my motives were clearly selfish and my formal training in language remains WHOLLY broken (I barely graduated High School, did not attend College) – this can only have been the work of God himself.  God used me in this way to teach me (and hopefully others) to rely on him for strength and ability… and for everything.  That there is power in the Holy Spirit.

Since then – many of this same multitude have come back and asked me for “more writing”.  Like the pizza that never arrives in 30 minutes (much less 60 or even 90) – I have promised, but not delivered.  I have felt incapable and unworthy.  About a week ago God conspired to change my (still) stubborn mind about this… and I setup this blog structure.  Today I found a small token of inspiration to begin.

So am I HOT NOW?  Am I today’s FRESH insight?  No.  I picked the Krispy Kreme “hot now” logo as a way of saying – no… I didn’t do this because I want to be worldly popular or my thoughts to be temporary/weak.  I want desperately for anything I write here to be only for HIS glory… and in that, those words would be much more than just “hot now”… like today’s most popular blog, youtube video or news headline.  I’m not interested in a large following or popularity, I’m just interested in being obedient to God himself.  In that, if I am the only person who reads my own randomness, that is just fine with me (and in fact it would make things a lot easier).

I promise you that I will fail to follow the Holy Spirit, but I won’t give up because that failure.  I’ll listen to my inspirational wife, to the promptings of the spirit, to God himself.  I will come back again and try again.  Bare with me and I bid you, come with me along the way.  I need your company and your reflection!  Please comment on anything, say anything, ask anything.  No question is too insulting or too stupid.  I love listening, talking and writing.  These are a few of my favorite things.

One basic ground rule:  This is not an anonymous blog and so I want to avoid any discussion that could hurt anyone or distract them from God’s purpose in their life.  I will inevitably end-up talking about the real people in my life and chances are good that I may unintentionally hurt one of them.  Please call me out on this, do not allow such things to go unregarded.  Please follow the same guidelines in your comments or thoughts as you walk with me.  Even if you don’t know the God that I love (and I definitely still want your feedback), please respect this one request.

“Let the songs I sing bring joy to you 
Let the words I say confess my love 
Let the notes I choose be your favorite tune 
Father let my heart be after you”  Needtobreathe – Garden

Thank you!

-The Otter

(I’ll write a more generic introduction of who I am later!)

1 – “Heart’s Tongue”.  A term borrowed from Rev. Dave Ralph, DS of the Colorado District of The Church of the Nazarene as heard just last night (6/26/11) at the annual Colorado General Assembly.  I have no idea where Dave got this term, but I REALLY liked it.  The context was hearing the Gospel explained in relevant ways that touch the heart of the listener with Truth.