The Search for Truth

Psalm 86:11-17

“Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
O God, the insolent rise up against me;
a band of ruffians seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant;
save the child of your serving girl.
Show me a sign of your favor,
so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”  NRSV

In this passage, we have, in Paul Harvey’s words, “The rest of the story” from this past Sunday’s worship. And, here, the Psalmist unintentionally names the major source of division among Christians.

“Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.”

Christians have never agreed on what God’s “truth” really is. Every interpreter of God’s truth, every interpreter, including yours truly, presents God’s “truth” in an agenda laden crucible to the people we serve. I have learned most of what I know about God’s truth from those who own up to their own agenda when speaking on behalf of God. Because it always comes with the invitation to wrestle with them,  fuss with them, and with their encouragement to make God’s truth my own. That is what grounds my faith and understanding of all things God.

Conversely, I can’t name you one thing I have learned from people who thought their version of God’s truth was agenda-free. Actually, that’s not true. I have learned graciously (most of the time) to walk away.

Every truth statement that bears God’s name must have more than a phrase or a verse pulled out of context to back it up. It must stand the scrutiny of the whole Biblical witness. That’s a tall order, for sure. But it is the discipline required of everyone called by God to ministry. It’s the mantel of the “sacred trust” that comes with the calling.

That is why I always want you to challenge me. But more importantly, each of us must be open to challenging ourselves and the beliefs, or “truths,” or practices, or habits, or attititudes that we bring to the Bible, to what we claim as truth. We won’t always walk away in agreement, but, hopefully, we will walk away with a newfound respect for what the other holds dear, and why, and willingness to sit with it awhile within ourselves, to wrestle with it, fuss with it, and give it the chance to make it our own. When we do, we give God the chance to make us God’s own. Then, we will possess “the undivided heart to revere God’s name.” Unity, not division, has always been the not-so-hidden agenda that grounds God’s Truth.

Be a blessing to someone today!

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