What is truth?– Pontius Pilate
College students, of all people, should understand the concept of truth. Not because they go to college and learn academics, but because they of all people should know how good it feels to come home.
Being away at college or being on your own for the first time is no easy thing. It’s a jungle out there! You have to do your own laundry and cook your own meals and, gulp, pay your bills on time. It’s a very unforgiving world and there are a lot of hard decisions to make. It’s not at all uncommon for young adults to make mistakes and get into a bind. Parents do their best to instill principles of right and wrong, good and evil, into their children from an early age. They try to teach them how life works. This is how to balance a checkbook. This is why it’s important to check the oil in your car. This is why you shouldn’t do drugs. Etc, etc.
Inevitably, however, whether it is because some principles were forgotten or just plain ignored as not important, most young adults find that life it tougher than they imagined.
It’s in these times when coming home for a good meal, fresh advice from mom and dad, and a night in the old bed does a world of good. It’s like pressing the reset button. It gives a person a new perspective. It’s there that the young adult may even be reminded of those needed principles that they ignored or forgot. They come home, not to a set of stale rules and regulations, but to the love and care of mom and dad, the very people who tried to teach them what they needed to know about life in the first place. Yes, home is a haven. A sanctuary. A place where everything comes back to the foundations. It’s steady. Absolute. Unwavering. And because home is these things, it feels safe.
Inherent in the very hearts of every human being is a longing for home. A longing to be complete once again. A yearning for something greater, something more beautiful, something that will fascinate us, but more importantly, somewhere we can go that’s safe and secure. We search for that which we can trust. That which we can count on. We spend our whole lives trying to create that place and we look for it in relationships, money, sex, retirement accounts, insurance, and a multitude of other things. And while there is nothing inherently evil in any one of these things when put into their proper places and used for their intended purposes, we inevitably find that these things never quite fill that need. Sometimes, indeed, eventually always, we find that they have or will completely disappoint.
It’s quite interesting to think that the idea of absolute truth has all but become a byword these days. Many people see believing in absolute truth as a straight jacket. So they conveniently make truth subjective. They say the idea of absolute truth is for those crazy religious people who go around shaking their finger at everyone and telling everyone how to live. They’re all hypocrites anyway! The church is full of hypocrites living in straight jackets, they say.
While I do apologize for the way those well-meaning but less loving and often times sharp-edged group of believers act, the idea that because they act this way gives someone a ticket to ignore the truth is a cop out. It doesn’t change the truth.
Truth, unlike public opinion, doesn’t need anyone to believe in it to still be true. That’s because truth doesn’t depend on anyone or anything to confirm its validity. It just is. Or should I say, He just is?
You see, Truth is so much more than a belief system or a concept. Truth is a Person, the Person of Jesus Christ. Truth is the way of God and Jesus is that way. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When Pilate asked the question, “What is truth,” he was actually looking right at him.
Let me put it this way. Let’s say you buy a widget from Wal Mart. In order to assemble this widget and use it properly and safely, you have to read and follow the directions. There is a correct way to assemble this widget and a correct way to use it properly and safely. If one were to ignore the directions of proper assembly and use, the user would encounter endless frustration, difficulty, lack of usefulness of the product, and possibly even risk of injury. Why is that? Because the makers of the widget you bought know how they made it, know how it was made to be assembled, and know how it was made to be used. There is a proper way. Every other way is wrong and is missing the full usefulness of the product. Following the directions for use is not an attempt to restrict your enjoyment of the product, but rather ensure your full enjoyment of it.
God is the Creator of all things, including all life. He knows how He made things and how they were created to work properly. He knows how our lives are supposed to be lived because, like it or not, He created our lives. Our lives were created to be lived according to the Manufacturer’s directions. These directions are given to us not to restrict our enjoyment of life, but rather to ensure the fullness of the enjoyment of it. There is, after all, a right way to live it and a wrong way. Just as following the directions of use for the widget will ensure more freedom in using it, following God’s ways, God’s truth, will ensure that we actually find ultimate freedom in life.
As with the widget, life comes with Manufacturer’s instructions – truth. This truth is found only in God’s Word, the Bible, and the Bible points to the very essence of Truth, the Person of Jesus Christ who is the absolute way to living life in freedom. As John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” In another place Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and that more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
That there is an absolute Truth should not cause us to shudder, but rather to sigh with relief. Like the young adult who is learning to live on his own, it’s jungle out there by yourself. And just as that young adult finds his or her bearings by coming home where the foundations were laid in their life, so returning to the Truth, through the Person of Jesus Christ, is the means by which we actually find ultimate freedom and joy in in this life and eternal life with Him.
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11)