Something that I continually come up against in conversations with other people is that, more times than not, people do not have all the facts before coming to a final conclusion about a given topic. This goes for political as well as spiritual beliefs and I see it as a crippling malady that keeps people from living in reality. For some, as the famous movie line goes, they “can’t handle the truth,” but for many they simply don’t know that they don’t know. For those, there is a simple solution…get your story straight.
What I love about this solution is it is not about interpreting the facts but about simply making sure you have all the pieces of the puzzle before any interpretation of the facts is attempted. Typically, once all the information is gathered and a fuller picture of what is going on is gained, the false beliefs become abundantly clear and a more realistic conclusion can be established.
One example, recently, is a conversation I have been having for a few months with a person who use to be thoroughly convinced that their church was established by a prophet of God and that he was used by God to establish the truth back to the earth through their specific institution. This person, we’ll call him Frank, began seeking me out for a dialogue about the church he belonged to, as well as other topics pertaining to Christianity in general.
At first, Frank did not know the complete history of who he thought was, in the church’s words, “The Prophet of the Restoration.” He just simply accepted the belief that he was a prophet and was a great man. But the more Frank looked into the documented history of the self proclaimed prophet, he slowly began to lose his confidence that this guy was really a prophet. As Frank put together all the facts surrounding this man, it was no longer a matter of debate whether or not he was a prophet or even a good man. It was clear, the man he once thought was a prophet of God, the most significant historical figure since Christ himself…was a charlatan.
While it is still difficult for Frank because of the family ties he has to his church, he now has more clarity of mind about the faulty foundation of the church itself. And while it will certainly be a bumpy road ahead as he transitions out of a false religion and into truth, he will most definitely be better off for it. As Jesus put it, he “will know the truth, and the truth will set [him] free.”
Frank is a perfect example of what we all need to do on a consistent basis in our own lives with what we believe. First, we have to be ok with even the possibility that our beliefs about something might be wrong. Second, we have to have the courage to change the direction of our life if we discover that the core beliefs we hold to are based on lies or a misunderstanding of the facts. Lastly, we have to get our story straight. The only way to be set free by the truth is to know the truth. We can’t stop short of putting the pieces of the puzzle together because of the fear of potentially being wrong.
Jesus teaches that if we ask, we will get an answer; if we seek, we will find; and if we knock, the door will be opened. And the reason for this, Jesus says, is that God is good. If Jesus says we serve a good God that wants us to know the truth and be set free by the truth, then let’s take him at his word and start asking some questions and seeking some answers. Let’s get our story straight.