Last time we looked at the idea in the first part of this century stemming from postmodernism (which was in motion far before then) that truth was relative to the individual and that we should somehow tolerate that idea and each other’s truths. We also looked at some of why that didn’t and doesn’t work out well. Today I want to look at how we might lead as Christians in the current context resulting from the failure of that idea.
First as a society, Christian or not, we need to understand this. At this point, we either have to figure out how to rescue absolute truth or we will have a continual war between the “truths”. Those truths will battle to become the absolute truths of society. Because that is how it works. Always.
As Christians what we need to do is a couple of things. Mainly we need to lead with actual Christian truth. All of it. Not part of it. Not the parts that line up with my “truths” but all of it.
We have to first believe that Jesus is THE TRUTH. He’s not just a truth or a way. He’s not one of many different paths. Jesus is not blind. In our example from last time with the blind people touching part of the elephant, Jesus sees the whole elephant. And while none of us can see it completely like He does, and in fact we can’t even see Him completely, we can align with what we can see of Him.
So the starting point is to submit our truths (experiences, views, perspectives) to Him.
Secondly we need to strongly disagree with the idea that I’m ok and you’re ok. We don’t replace that with I’m ok and you’re not. What we replace it with is a simple truth of the gospel. That is this: I’m not ok and you’re not ok. In that order.
It turns out that none of us are who we are meant to be. This is because of sin. Our sin and all the sin of others. We live in a fallen world. We were created ok. But sin caused us not to be. I’m ok, you’re ok flies in the face of the gospel. And it is absolutely not true.
And to be honest I don’t think it really helps anybody. Sure it might help me feel good in a moment. It helps us rationalize things that we do. But we all know it. Collectively we know that the world is not as it should be. If it was we wouldn’t be dealing with any of this. It’s arrogance to say that the world is broken but we individually are not. Frankly saying that everything is ok is at best a cop out and at worst a horrible demeaning platitude. We are not ok.
The order is important. I first look at myself and know that I’m not whom I’m supposed to be. If I don’t do that first then I’m self righteous. And as I’ve said before, the self righteous person is the most arrogant and dangerous person in the room.
That by the way is another problem if my truth is the highest truth. It’s pure self righteousness.
But it’s also important because we should want to be better. We should want to actually be ok. But if we don’t realize that we aren’t, or better said if we hide from it by saying that we are, we can’t do anything about it. Telling a struggling person that they ok is not helping them to not struggle.
Instead we need to start with owning the fact that we are not ok. Our “truth” is not the truth. The first battle is always within. If we don’t fight that before and simultaneously while going out to help others see that they are not ok, it will be disastrous. Leadership is taking ownership first of my not being ok and then leading others in theirs.
Here’s the reality, the actual truth. There is no better philosophy or worldview for describing the world than Christianity. It acknowledges the absolute truth of Jesus while at the same time acknowledging that I am not ok. We should not compromise that so that people will like us (see go to our church, not judge us, help us fit in, push our personal political agenda, etc). We should not pick a side. We should be on God’s side.
This is more work. It doesn’t lend itself to facebook likes and retweets. It doesn’t fit in a hashtag. It means more prayer and less posting. It means more conversations in person. It means engaging people in love and humility. It means fearing God not man. It means more study and more dealing with my own sin. It means learning and submitting to actual truth even when it doesn’t feel like my truth. It means leading not following. It means having God and His truth front and center.
The good news is that if we do it, not only will we probably have some impact around us but the bonus is that we’ll grow. We’ll become closer to Jesus. We’ll have to in order to do it. We’ll become more ok ourselves.