Friday, April 21, 2006


"He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." John 7:18 NIV

Is honesty in dialog important? I don't believe true dialog can exist without it.

In my last post I mentioned that I am willing to give a person, in debate, the benefit of the doubt unless and until they have proven their own intellectual dishonesty. When debating or having a discussion with another person and facts are pointed out, giving clear direction to a conclusion but the opponent refuses to concede the truth, there is no point in continuing a discussion or debate. It is futile. I could ramble on, citing example after example of intellectual dishonesty in political debate but I am certain that we have all experienced it. I once had a person try to pass off an after the fact, manufactured email to prove something had been said before she ever said it, she lied rather than admit the fact that she had not said what she claimed to say. What is it that causes people to feel they need to win every argument, even if it means lying to do so? Is it a part of this elusive "human nature" which Dr. Philip Slater claims cannot be defined? Is winning so important? I engage in debate because I like to learn. Sometimes I learn I am wrong about something...God, grant me the ability to admit my mistakes, to learn from others whom You place in my path and not by accident.

The Bible tells me that I am to have a teachable spirit. That means I must be willing to be open minded and not expect that I know more than every other person to whom I speak or write. Yes, I am aggressive, as someone once described me. I very aggressively seek the truth and become frustrated when others don't share that same insatiable desire for truth. Oh, sure, I know I make myself sound pious, like all I do is seek the truth, I assure you I'm not fooling myself into thinking I'm pious. I can get off track like anyone else, I have an ego like everyone else and if not careful I can let it get the better of me. But the goal...the goal should be to have that teachable spirit, to really listen to what others are saying, to be open minded about whether what they are saying is true or not, to accept the truth even if I find it distasteful and not compliant with what I would like to believe. How can we grow in the spirit if we are closed minded to the truth?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton said: "Reformers who are always compromising have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon."

So, what is truth and where does one get it if one does not believe the overall message of the Bible? As a Christian the Bible is my instruction book. It has been hard for me to imagine how people form their own foundational truths if they do not use the Bible for some sort of moral guidance. Thank God that He still allows me to learn. Thank God for His simple (sic) commandment, Jesus said that if you live under that commandment of love..., " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.' " ...that everything else will fall into place, or anyway that is what I think he means. I interpret this to mean that if you are sincerely loving God with all your heart, soul and mind, and your neighbor as yourself that you can't help but keep all His commandments. These two commandments don't make null and void all other commandments, it just means that if you are genuinely and wholeheartedly engaged in the practice of keeping those two commandments that you won't break the others. The only problem is, other than Jesus Christ, Himself, none of us are capable of agape love on our own, we must all rely on God because of that, the first Bible verse quoted is most important, when we take that into consideration, and so I repeat:

"He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him." John 7:18 NIV

And I'm left with my own weakness. Thank God that we can rely on Him to help us! Thank Jesus for his precious blood!

Truth is not relative and only God has it.

"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 (and ouch, there's that *intolerant* thang Jerry Falwell recently took such grief over) ;)

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