Friday, September 30, 2011

What is Truth?

Sometimes I marvel at my kids' ideas of "truth".

Occasionally, one of them will insist they're telling the truth, when, in reality, they are totally lying to my face.  Thankfully, that's a rare occasion.

Usually, they tell their version of 'truth' with either a different slant or from a different perspective.  These are generally the times when they make me laugh.

For instance, just this morning at the bus stop, Markos was acting up.  No matter what I told him to do (or not do), he did the opposite - with an ornery grin on his face.

"Markos, stop touching that trash can.  It's dirty.".... touch. touch. touch.
"Markos, get back here.".... run. run. run.
"Markos, don't knock on the neighbor's door at 8:30 in the morning."... knock. knock. knock.

The bus finally came and Daniel hopped on.  I grabbed Markos' hand to keep him from running out into the street to be flattened by a different bus coming the other direction.  He didn't want to hold my hand, but I insisted.  For the first time all morning, he relented and nicely held my hand as we walked back to the house.  As we walked, I asked, "Markos, what's going on today?  Why aren't you listening to me?"

He got all defensive and shot back, "I listen!".  I explained that no, he hadn't been listening.  He explained, "Yes, I did!  A second ago, I listened!"  Well, he had me there.  He HAD listened that ONE TIME a few seconds before, just not the other 87 times before that.

Then after school, Daniel and Markos were downstairs and I could hear some commotion starting.  Before long, Markos came running up the stairs crying to me about Daniel changing the TV channel when he was watching something and that Daniel had pushed him.  Eventually, I talked to Daniel about it and asked very non-chalantly, "hey Dan, what happened downstairs with the TV?"  After a few seconds of well-spun bologna, I asked, "Well, did you push him?".

With a very thoughtful expression on his face, he said, "I...uh...I...hugged him."
(yeahhhh, right.)  I gave him the look of 'Oh, come on!  You can do better than THAT!' and he relented and laughed, saying, "OK.  I'm going to tell you the truth.  I did.  I pushed him."  (short pause) "Hey!  I told you the truth!  I promise. I'm going to tell the truth now....for a whole year!" 

Awesome.  A whole year.  Wow.

Then there's Mackenzie who totally cracks me up.  She will say something that she and I both know is completely false, but she will stand by it, even though she totally knows that I know it's not true.  Usually these are ridiculous things, like today.  She came home from tennis practice in the rain, on clay courts.  She didn't take her shoes off before walking onto the living room carpet.  Dark footprints marked her path, and were all around where she stood.  (Side note: I JUST scrubbed the carpets 2 days ago.)

I said, "oh, Kenz!!  You didn't take your shoes off!"  She said, "oh, sorry!" as she headed for the tile entryway.  But, she was playing with the dog and didn't take her shoes off then either.  Before long, she was standing on the carpet beside the tile again!  I said, "KENZ!  You're on the carpet again!  Take your shoes off!"  She said, "no, I'm not."  (knowing full well that she was)  I said, "yes, you are!" as she scooted over onto the tile.  (The footprints marking where she had stood were a dead giveaway!)  She said, with a little smile on her face (giving away her complete knowledge that she was full of it), "no, I wasn't". 

As funny/ridiculous/pathetic as these situations were, I will admit, figuring out the 'truth' is often a tricky thing.  Truth according to whom? From whose perspective?  What is true and what isn't?  Is there really such a thing as a half-truth?  Half true, half...false??

Like the situation with Daniel today, sometimes acknowledging truth requires that we humble ourselves and admit we were wrong.  Or, with Markos, sometimes we are telling some truth, but we just weren't clear about the question.  Or, with Kenz, sometimes we know the truth, we just don't want to admit it or accept it. 

The Bible has much to say about Truth.
Jesus is the truth:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:6 - 7

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth: 

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17

 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13

The Word of God is Truth:

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17
 The Truth will set us free:
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

Here's the thing.  The Truth isn't something to be determined.  The Truth is a Person.  Someone to get to know.  Someone with whom to have a relationship.  A relationship that will end with His Spirit taking up residence inside you, guiding you, and helping you to know, to speak, and to understand truth.

Do you know the Truth?

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