I’ve encountered not only in other people, but also within myself, a tendency to twist the truth to my own advantage. I’m talking about the truth of God’s word. When confronted with an opinion that differs from my own, I tend to obstinately defend and guard my precious beliefs from what feels like an attack from outside. And like I said, I’ve seen that this is something we humans generally do. Why is it so hard for us to just be objective?
Well, we’ve spent perhaps years of our lives nourishing those beliefs, until they’ve become a part of who we are (we think). Giving up those beliefs would be like giving up a part of ourselves.
Another consideration is that we have a strong desire to be accepted socially. If all the people (or at least most) in our church believe a certain way, and we just LOVE that church and those people, we will probably try to avoid offending anybody by contradicting their opinions, even if we might initially disagree with them. The desire to fit in is so great, even in adults, that we eventually end up abandoning our search for the truth and settle for what the group accepts to be true, whether it is or not.
Or…perhaps we’re just lazy. Maybe it takes too much effort to really look into a matter to find out what’s true and what isn’t. Too much work. We’d rather watch TV.
Whatever the reason, truth seeking is rare. Opinionating is not. It’s easy to have an opinion. Most of the time, we form our opinions, not based on honest research that we have done, but based on what everyone else in our group of choice thinks is correct. We absorb other people’s opinions (which they got from someone else, and on and on…) through osmosis. With not much analyzing involved.
Or, if we do analyze things, what criteria do we use? Don’t we usually start from our own vantage point, and using our own experiences, attempt to come to some reasonable conclusion–on our own? What about the Bible? Oh yes, we refer to the Bible often enough, as Christians. But do we really know it? Is it possible that we might be twisting it to our own advantage? Maybe what the Bible is REALLY saying is not what we think it is saying. Maybe we’re living in an “alternative reality,” in which we’ve convinced ourselves, or others have convinced us, that when the Bible says THIS, it means THAT, and we accept it as true because we WANT it to be true.
But how can we continue to live like this? Being dishonest with the word of God, not obeying Him because we don’t WANT to obey Him, and then convincing ourselves that our actions are biblical because we’ve somehow “discovered” that God didn’t really mean what He ACTUALLY said.
I want to issue a challenge, not only to others, but to myself as well:
Let us seek the truth, with the determination to ACCEPT that truth, whatever it may be, regardless of whether or not it conflicts with our preferences and presuppositions.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
2 Corinthinas 10:3-6