How Truth Can Lie

[Estimated reading time: 3m15s]

Before I stopped being surprised by what can happen in church, my dad told me a story of people who came to him wanting to be baptized. He knew something was off when they asked for a letter proving he’d baptized them before they’d even discussed what baptism was about.

He found later these folks were told by their lawyer the judge in their court case would look more favorably on them if they became Christians. With only a few days before their hearing, they needed “this Christian stuff” expedited.

“You understand, don’t you, Pastor?”

Jesus, how do we help people who want the truth so it’ll help them lie?

Here’s how:

“Good Teacher…”

“Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.”

But I thought Jesus was God? The Word made flesh, right? Immovable, universal truth, right? Is Jesus saying he’s not god?

Revisit the question: “Why do you call me good?”

Now read it this way: Why do YOU call me good?

Repeating the truth without first having encountered and experienced it is not enough. It wasn’t enough for Jesus and it’s not enough for every millennial who up and left Christendom™.

You can copy/paste scripture into your life, but you can’t fake seeing what you haven’t seen.

Sure, you can fool Christians. You can fool yourself. But Jesus will confront you. He’ll call you out. It’ll be just humiliating and humbling enough to make you blame the devil.

“Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.”

Are you calling me God? Or are you just cooperating with the semantics you think you need in order to get what you want from me?

The guy is a religious leader, bills paid by his ability to explain scriptures and know what he’s talking about.

Spend 30 minutes in some form of ministry and both of his motives will surface.

  1. Find new information to reinforce what you’ve already claimed to be true.
  2. Monopolize information to regurgitate later, reinforcing your claim that you know what you’re talking about.

This is how truth can lie. It flows through a filter as dishonest and self-centered as this religious leader’s intentions.

Jesus debunks the entire premise. Instead, he’s goes straight to the heart of the matter.

This is how millions of us millennial Christians justify our departure. We mistake our God-induced unraveling of live to be a life-induced unraveling of God.

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide-deep-long-high His love really is. May you experience the love of God, though it’s so great you’ll never fully understand it. Then, you will be filled with the fulness of life and power that come from God.”

The Christian life centers around experiencing and understanding God’s love. Until then, you’re about semantics. Until then, you’re not full of life and power, but something else. You’re full of sh—let’s just call them semantics.

What we misunderstand is that this unravelling is Jesus’ idea.

Think about it—how would you feel if you were a gifted, brilliant artist who is celebrated and followed not for the masterpiece you’re about to unveil, but because the tools you’ll use to paint it are being manipulated?

You might call out your “admirers” for pretending you are who you say you are without letting you say who you really are.

You might unravel their ideas of you just so you could introduce them to you who you really are.

You might even put all their lies on your back and die along with them so your resurrection would be what sets the record straight.

Because you can fake yourself and others out with semantics, but you can’t fake resurrection.

“Good Teacher, how can I inherit eternal life?”

Imagine Jesus indulged the man and simply gave him what he wanted. He’d go back to the Temple and regurgitate what he heard in the tone and inflection that’s most self-assuring.

And here’s what I find wild: The people in the Temple would hear him telling the truth and still, upon hearing Jesus, know that Jesus is the only one who speaks with authority.

God is not interested in arming us with the answers we want to reassure ourselves, our lifestyles, or our politics.

Because you can be full of semantics.

You can convince others you’re about Jesus.

You can even convince yourself Jesus is about what you say he’s about.

What you can’t manipulate is resurrection, that God-given rebirth of the dreams and desires that’ll only ever be enjoyed by those who truly trusted Jesus long enough to willingly drop them down off his feet, without demanding he schedule a pick-up day in advance.

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