His voice was loud and angry as I turned away and closed the door. What I felt was shock at the abrupt turnabout of his demeanor and the vitriol in the verbal attack. He and the quiet young man who had been standing behind him made their way down the steps, and I was relieved to hear the sound of their footsteps fade. The unexpected exchange had taken precious time and I would be late. The jarring words echoed in my ears and crashed painfully against my heart.
“But WE HAVE THE TRUTH!”
Less than 10 minutes earlier I had grabbed my bag, lunch, and keys and had turned toward the door. A sudden knock sounded; I set my belongings on the nearest chair and opened the door in answer to the two young men waiting on the other side. They appeared clean and nicely groomed, but I groaned inwardly as I realized the missionary minded twosome wanted more time than I had to offer.
I greeted them quickly, then told them I was literally on my way to the office. No time for chatting, as people were waiting. One young man took a slight step backward, but the other stepped forward, his body language spelling out a lack of belief in my announcement and strong intention to stay, to accomplish his goal.
“Do you believe in God?”
My answer was rushed, but gentle. “Yes, I believe in God. I am a Christian and attend a local church.”
“Which denomination?” His question was blunt; there was no ease in his manner.
He would not going to like the response, and my initial sensation of dread grew. As I gave my answer, his face tightened. Immediately, I spoke the reminder I needed to get to work, thanked them and said good-bye. As I moved to step back to collect my things, he hurled the words at my head.
“But WE HAVE THE TRUTH!”
The door was a barrier of safety, and I stayed beside it until the young men had gone. That day as I drove to work and many days and evenings since, I have thought about those words. We have the Truth.
What good is having the truth if our presentation is arrogant?
What good is the truth without grace?
The music is gentle and the voice of the preacher caresses as we are invited to come to Jesus, to come as we are, sinful and flawed. “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling…”
If Jesus calls softly, tenderly, and if He loves us flawed with sins clinging, how can we demand?
I’ve heard the same words, “We have the truth,” from the pulpit, from preachers, elders, deacons, teachers. Each one speaking in tones more determined than sweet. I’ve heard those words from myself and my friends while discussing our wonder over anyone opting out of our beliefs.
It’s important to know truth, to believe and follow truth. It’s vital to believe the truth rather than lies. What may be less important is to claim we have the truth as if it belongs to us alone. It could, in fact, be dangerous, because Truth belongs to God.
God is the Father of Truth as the evil one is the father of lies. God shares His truth in love and in grace through the lifeblood of His Son, Jesus. We are free to share God’s truth. We have none of our own.
To the jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. They you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
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