Posted by: Veroni Kruger | October 22, 2020

… Hidden With Christ in God

I years ago I was putting my five-year-old daughter to bed one night.  A typical Pretoria thunderstorm was raging outside, and she was afraid.  “Don’t be scared” I said, “Jesus will protect you.”

Her answer: “Jesus cannot protect me, because He lives in me and that means He must be smaller than me.”  Logic you cannot beat!

The problem was that she was focusing on part of the truth.  Yes, God does live in us, but He also envelops us, protects us, covers us with his love.  Proverbs 18.10 says God is like a fortified tower into which we can run and be safe.

Today I want us to contemplate for a while the part of the message my daughter was missing. 

Paul expresses this thought in an interesting sentence.  “…your life is now hidden with Christ in God”.  (Colossians 3.3)

It requires a relationship with Christ.  The opening of this verse reads “For you have died”. That means you have forsaken your old life and are now committed to serving God.  It does not mean you are perfect, only that you have changed the direction of your life from being self-serving to wanting to serve God.

“With Christ” implies that you have associated yourself with Christ.  It also means that by the grace of God you have been admitted to Him identifying Himself with you.  

“Hidden in God” means that you are not exposed to forces that God does not control 

There are countless Scriptures that confirm this:

Isaiah 54.17 immediately comes to mind. “No weapon forged against you will prevail.”  I am sure you can think of many others that assure us of God’s continued protection.

David gives another angle on this.  Where is God’s protection when we are confronted with death?  David is confident that even then God will be with us.   “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23.4)

Paul is just as certain of our security in God:  “For I am convinced that neither life nor death … nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8.38,39)

The crucifixion of Christ is our guarantee that God loves us – so much that He gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Also that He is able to protect us.  Having paid the cost of our sin, having won the ultimate victory over our enemy (Satan) and our ultimate challenge (death), we can be assured that there is nothing against which He cannot and will not protect us.

We are justified in exclaiming with Paul:  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15.54)

Let us pray.

Dear Lord, we bow in admiration and adoration at your throne.  Not only are you the Creator of the universe.  You also came into this world as an ordinary human being who was also God, and gave yourself as the sacrifice for our sins.  Today we can approach you as your children, certain of your protection over us in life and death.  We worship you, and give ourselves to you.

In Jesus’ Name,  Amen  

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | October 15, 2020

Faith And Obedience

There is a very close relationship between faith, love and obedience.  Let’s now look at a Biblical example of someone who acted in total obedience.

When Abraham and his wife were both already far advanced in years and still childless, the angel of the Lord promised them they would have a son.  Imagine their joy when Isaac was born!  This was the fulfilment of the promise that Abraham would have descendants.

And then:  “Abraham!  Take your son, your only son, who you love – Isaac – ….and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” (Genesis 22.1 and 2). Abraham could only interpret these instructions as representing the annulment of all the wonderful promises of having descendants through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12.3) and by whom Abraham would become the father of many nations (Genesis 17.6)    

How did Abraham respond?  “Early the next morning Abraham got up” and started the journey to the place where he would give up the proof of God’s faithfulness (Genesis 22.3).  We are impressed by the immediate response of Abraham:  “Early the next morning” means there was no delay in Abraham’s response.

Why did he do that?  Hebrews 11.17 and 18 give us the answer.  “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.”  He believed that God could even raise the dead.   

This speaks a whole lot about the nature of faith.  Faith is not denial, as if the challenge we face is not real.  Faith is holding on to God at all costs, even when we do not see the solution, or when what God requires seems to be totally illogical.

The other great truth that emerges out of Abraham’s response is that faith elicits obedience. 

Paul taught that obedience naturally grows out of faith.  He says that he “received grace and the apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith..” (Romans 1.5) 

If I trust God for my eternal salvation and provision in this life; if I truly believe He is who He says He is, why should I not trust Him enough to obey Him?

We all know the story of the dad who encouraged his young son to jump into his arms from a high piece of furniture, promising that he would catch him.  Only to let him fall and say to him “That is to teach you never to trust anyone.”

Has God ever let you down?  The answer is a resounding “No!”

How did God respond to Abraham’s obedience?  He allowed him to set Isaac free; he fulfilled his promises to Abraham.  Perhaps the most touching of all, is the fact that God called Abraham his friend.  James says Abraham’s faith was “credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.” (James 2.23)  We are saved by faith and become God’s friends by obeying Him.

Let us pray.

Father, we thank you that you have proved yourself to be faithful in every way.  The greatest proof is that you have given your Son to be sacrificed for us.  Also, that you raised him from the dead.  That you revealed yourself to us as our Lord and Saviour.   That you have been what the Psalmist calls a ” very present help in time of trouble.”  We express our trust in you, and we commit ourselves to follow you in obedience.  In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | October 8, 2020

More than Conquerors

In Romans 8.37 Paul says “… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  NLT:  “overwhelming victory is ours”.   The Greek word used here may be translated as “complete victory”.      

A conqueror is a conqueror is a conqueror, not so?  Why “More than conquerors”?  

The only reason why we can be more than conquerors, is because God is on our side – see my previous blog.

Our victory straddles two different realities:  This world and the spiritual realm.  “…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions … And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2.4-6)

Our first victory was when we dedicated ourselves to the Lord.  By doing so we overcame the natural inclination to self-determination.  Thereafter every time we chose to obey God was a victory.  Every time we held fast to our faith even when we did not see the victory immediately, was a victory.  Right now, whatever your circumstances are, know that as you hold on to God, you are gaining the victory.  

The measure of our victory is revealed by the measure of our antagonist.  Paul outlines the sources of what we are victorious against:  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  (Ephesians 6.12)  

Paul’s assertion of our being more than conquerors comes after he mentions more of the sources of what we are up against: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Against whatever any of these may bring against us, we can confess that we are indeed more than conquerors.  

Our ultimate victory will be when we come to the end of our lives, and we realize that we are also victorious over death.  Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15.54-57: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The “already” and the “not completely yet”.   Our being victorious is typical of the Kingdom of God.  It has come, yet it is not quite fulfilled.  The consummation of the Kingdom will take place with what Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 15.28: ” Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.” (NLT)

In the same way, we will see the consummation of our own victory when Christ’s reign is finally recognized everywhere.  

Until that time, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the “author and perfecter of our faith”, that is the one “on whom our faith depends from start to finish. (Hebrews 12.2, NLT)

Father, we thank you that we already are more than conquerors, and we look forward to that day when our victory will be consummated.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | October 1, 2020

God Is On Your Side

I love the honesty and transparency of God’s Word.  Unlike many so-called positive preachers who often deny that Christians will go through different kinds of suffering, Paul acknowledges that we as believers do often suffer.  In Romans 8 he does that by mentioning different kinds of suffering and then places them in perspective.

The background is the triumphant statement in Romans 8.1 and 2 that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”   Furthermore, the conclusion that we are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” who will “share in his glory”. (Romans 8.17)

Yet Paul talks of  “our present sufferings” (Romans 8.18).

The perspective is that God is with us in all of this.  The questions in Romans 8.31-35 are really rhetorical.  Rather than firing off a series of questions, Paul is making a series of emphatic statements:  Since God is with us, there can be no-one who can stand against us.  No-one can bring any charge against us.  No-one can condemn us.  The climactic statement is in verse 35:  No-one can separate us from the love of Christ.  

Elaborating on this statement, Paul enumerates possible sources of suffering we might experience:  “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword”.  Quoting from Psalm 44 he even mentions martyrdom  “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8.36).  Amidst  all of these possible onslaughts against us, Paul is confident that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ.   

Paul affirms his conviction in a sweeping statement in Romans 8.38 and 39:  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The guarantee of this belief is the fact that Jesus died for us.  God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8.32).   Furthermore, “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8.34).  No wonder then that Paul’s conclusion is that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us”.  

God is on your side!  No matter what difficulties you may face, He is always there to see you through.  Jesus is interceding for you at the right hand of God.  You are assured of sharing in the glory of God.

Now let us pray.

Father, we thank you that we have the guarantee of your love and your abiding presence with us in this life, and the promise of sharing your glory hereafter.  Help us to believe and confess this truth and to walk in it.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen. 

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | September 24, 2020

The Anomaly of the Christian Life

In two remarkable portions of the same letter, Paul points out some of the anomalies of the Christian life.  Because of his own experience, some of them are extremes.  However, I believe you will find yourself in at least some of the situations he describes.  Paul experienced much of what he writes about physically.  Although we may have been spared physical suffering, we all know that emotional and spiritual battles are often as bad or worse than physical suffering.  

Paul writes:  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our bodies the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4.8-10) 

And : “Through bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; know, yet regarded as unknown; dying, end yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 6.8-10) 

How does Paul maintain his equilibrium under these circumstances?  As we continue to study Paul’s writings, we gain insight into the perspective he had.  This has been a great encouragement to me, and I trust you will also experience that.   

Here are some of Paul’s insights.

Paul has a realistic picture of our position as human beings.   “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4.7)  

He realizes that this life is nothing compared to the eternal joy we are assured of.  We live in the expectation of the resurrection.    “Because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to Himself.”  (2 Corinthians 4.14)

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4.16)

“God has given us his Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 5.5.)

The guiding principle of our lives is that we have one goal, and that is to please God.  (2 Corinthians 5.9)

One translation has the following for 2 Corinthians 6.7:  “Our best weapon for attack and defence is to do the will of God.”

For all of the above reasons, we can say with Paul:  “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12.10)

Christians are like a cork pressed under water.  By the power of God inherent in us, we always pop up again!

Let us pray

Father, we thank you for your irrepressible power.  Thank you that the same power by which you raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.  Help us to live in the realization of that truth.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | September 15, 2020

Freedom

There is a lot of talk about freedom at present.  We had lockdown with an expected date of lifting of restrictions, then extension of lockdown until April 3, with expected lifting of restrictions.  After hearing them being announced, many of us still feel locked down.

On Monday April 27 we celebrated “freedom day” to commemorate the first democratic election in our country in 1994.  Many people would say they don’t feel much of the promised freedom.

In the midst of all of this, I want to draw your attention to an announcement Jesus made in the synagogue in Nazareth more than 2,000 years ago.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”  (Luke 4.18,19)

Jesus did not free the Jewish people from Roman oppression. He did not set people physically imprisoned free.  What was He then talking about?

The answer to that question lies in the answer to another:  What did Jesus accomplish through his death and resurrection?  Although we may not be able to grasp the full implications with our human minds, we can surely state the following:

He set us free of condemnation because of our sin; He proved to us that death is not an unconquerable enemy; He proved that Satan has no authority over us; He opened the way for us to directly approach the throne of God through faith; He opened the way for us to live a life of abundant blessings.  This is to name only a few of the many things Jesus accomplished.

Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10). Life to the full means experiencing an abounding fullness of joy and strength for mind, body, and soul.

This is true freedom.  It is what Jesus was talking about when He said “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8.36). This means to be free of fear also.

Victor Frankl, survivor of World War Two, spent three years in German concentration camps in Auschwitz and Dachau, from 1942 to 1945.  He wrote about freedom as follows:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

What does that have to do with us today?  Simply this:  The freedom that Jesus bought for us is there for us to enjoy.  We have a choice to make.  We can either accept that and live in it, or focus on the negative things around us and become more negative ourselves, even succumbing to fear.  Fear, if allowed to cloud our thinking, may lead to depression.  That is definitely not God’s purpose for us!

Let us contemplate God’s Word to absorb what Christ has achieved for us into our thinking.  Let us also allow the Holy Spirit to help us channel our thoughts to be according to God’s Word.  Paul encourages us to pursue this way of thinking in 2 Corinthians 3.17:  “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Let us pray.

Father, thank you for setting us free.  Help us to live in that freedom.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | September 8, 2020

God and Our Emotions

The Book of Psalms provides a remarkable account of human emotions.  The Psalms often also provide God’s perspective on our emotions and describe how the Psalmist reached a solution or resolution.  Today I want to focus on one of the Psalms that describe raw emotions and how God helped the Psalmist to deal with them.  I strongly encourage you to read Psalm 73 in its entirety.

The Psalmist had struck some great difficulty:  

Ps 73.1-3         Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

It drove him to despondency:

Ps 73.13-14   Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence.  All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.

His despondency developed into extremes:

Ps 73.16.  When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply.

Ps 73.21-22  When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant;  I was a brute beast before you.

In this condition, the Psalmist discovered the wonderful truth that God knows and understands what we feel.

Ps 103.14 says “He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.”

The Psalmist also discovered that God meets us where we are.  He had an experience with God:

His condition lasted until he had this experience.  I verse 17 he says he “entered the sanctuary of God”.  I believe this means he had an experience of God’s presence.

Then he realized that God had always been with him 

Ps 73.23   Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

He regains his perspective and even looks ahead

Ps 73.24  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

You see, God meets us where we are and helps us to deal with our circumstances

But there is more:

God shares our emotions

John 11.1-44 contains the narrative of the raising of Lazarus.

At the graveside:

Jesus experienced deep grief 

John 11.35 “Jesus wept” 

Why did He weep?

            Not because Lazarus had died

            He knew He was going to raise him from the dead. 

Jesus wept because he felt the neediness of the people

I believe it is safe to say that God experiences every emotion that we can ever experience.  

But there is still more:   The awesome God we serve meets us where we are, He shares our emotions with us, but He is also not inactive but acts in our behalf.  He not only wept at the graveside of Lazarus, He actually raised him from the dead.  

God can do something about your circumstances

Today God speaks to his people to comfort and strengthen them.  He speaks to us as his people, but also to each individual, that is, to you and me.

He is waiting for you to meet Him.

He is ready to help you in your circumstances

Prayer is a good place to seek an experience with God, as the old hymn reminds us.

Sweet hour of prayer 
That calls me from a world of care
And bids me at my Father’s throne 
Make all my wants and wishes known 
In seasons of distress and grief 
My soul has often found relief 
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare 
By Thy return, sweet hour of prayer

Let us pray:

Father, we thank you that you understand us, and share our deepest emotions.  We commit bring ourselves anew today.  Please help us to trust you to enable us to deal with every circumstance in our lives.  In Jesus Name, Amen.    

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | September 3, 2020

The Opposite Spirit

The author of Psalm 120 bewails his lot to have lived among barbaric, war-like people.  “Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar.” (Psalm 120.5.)  He points out the differences between him and those around him, in verses 6 and 7:  “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.  I am a man of peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”  They are characterized by having “lying lips” and “deceitful tongues.” (Verse 2.)

His desire is that God should punish the people whose very life-style he finds offensive.  “He (God) will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom tree.” (Verse 4)

The author’s view of the culture is that God should eradicate the members of that culture.

As we look around us at everything that we think is wrong, how do you feel about that?  More importantly, how do you feel about the people who are perpetrating wrongs, whose mindset seems to be totally different from yours?  

Sad to say there is much wrong in our society:  violence in general, gender-based violence and violence against children, crime, racism, large-scale corruption, to mention just a few.  These appear across all boundaries of race and culture.  

The natural response would be the one the Psalmist reveals:  Eradicate all who are misbehaving!

On the other hand, the intensity of the wrongs we perceive around us may discourage us so much that we retreat into what David Bosch called the “ghetto mentality”.  Rather than engage, we adopt an attitude of “whatever will be will be”, “there is nothing we can do about it anyhow.”  

The question is what should our attitude be?  The answer is that it should be exactly the opposite of the author of Psalm 120.   In all of Scripture there is only one example of the church praying for vengeance, and that is in the final stages of history (Revelation 6.9-11).  Rather than pray for vengeance, Jesus prayed on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23.34). Stephen echoed that as he was stoned: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7.60) 

You see, our  attitude should be determined by what we have been commissioned to do, that is “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28.19); be witnesses of Jesus (Acts 1.8). 

We should pray for and work towards, seeing a work of God in South Africa and world-wide in which there will be reconciliation, justice, a true fulfilment of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray:  “Let your Kingdom come”.  

Working with God in this way, we might see what the Afrikaans poet N P Van Wyk Louw was wishing for in his poem “O wye en droewe land” translated by Guy Butler:  

“Will never a might beauty come like hail-white thunderheads that bloom above your mountains’ darkest stance, and never a deed occur in you to echo over the earth and taunt Time with its impotence?”

South Africa, and every place in the world where believers cooperate with God could become a testimony to the world of the transformational power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.  

Are you willing to trust God for this?  Are you willing to do what you can right now, even during the time of lockdown?  It has to start with ourselves, praying for God to transform us to be real disciples.  Then we can testify, give, pray.  Remember the wise words of Tennyson:  “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”

Now let us pray:

We thank you that we have been commissioned to bring good news to the world.  Please help us to do that by every possible means.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen 

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | August 27, 2020

Where is God in all of this?

All of us have our own experiences of lockdown, and opinions of the justification for it as well as on the various restrictions imposed on us, and the manner in which it is done, and enforced.  In the last week someone expressed intense distress and loneliness that brought her to the edge of depression.  Social media are full of comments.  Of course, we may also still have to deal with many other challenges in our lives.

I want to suggest to you that the most important question we need to ask is “Where is God in all of this?”  I assure you that He has not suddenly withdrawn from the world to watch from afar what is happening here. Remember that He said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13.5.   

But where is God in all of this?

Matthew 14 (and Mark 6 as well as John 6) tells of an interesting event.

Jesus had sent his disciples on ahead of Him to cross the lake.  They ran into a severe storm.  He came to them, walking on the water.  Matthew writes that “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.”

The disciples had just witnessed the compassion Jesus had on the crowds, so much so that He multiplied the fish and the bread and fed more than 5,000 people.  It seems to me they should have been expecting Jesus to come to their aid.  Yet, when He came, they immediately concluded that it must be a ghost.  Obviously they were not expecting Him.

Jesus encourages them:  “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Their lack of faith remains, so that Peter says “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  He is testing the ghost, you see.

Peter bravely steps out of the boat, only to sink when he sees the wind.  Jesus saves him, but in amazement at the lack of faith in Peter and the other disciples, He says:  “You of little faith.”

What if the disciples were expecting Jesus to show up to help them?  Would they not have been less anxious and welcomed Him into the boat?  Peter would have been spared his rather humiliating little experiment in faith.

I think the greatest obstacles to their faith were the reality of the storm, and the unexpectedness of Jesus’s arrival. 

We often suffer unnecessary stress because we focus on the storm and do not expect Jesus to be anywhere near.  He is there!

He often operates in a surprising way.  This may be in a change in circumstances, through a person from whom we would not expect it.  Mostly by changing our own attitude.

George Beverly Shea sang “I looked for Him in the heart of a friend and He was there….It’s so simple, yet so wonderful, any moment anywhere, just look for Him and He’ll be there.” 

This is not to say we deny the existence or intensity of the storm, it’s just that we know Jesus is in our lives, and that we expect Him to intervene in our behalf.

Where is God in all of this?  What is He doing?  What is He teaching me?  What in me does He want to transform?

Let us pray:

Father, we thank you that you are never far from us.  Help us to see you in the many ways you have blessed us, and to expect you to show up in sometimes surprising ways as you work in our lives.  In Jesus Name, Amen.          

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | February 9, 2017

Which Truth Is Your Truth?

I find myself thinking a lot about truth lately. Maybe because of the abuse of the word “truth” I see around me?

Someone said about a ministry colleague that he was not lying. “It’s only that his concept of truth differs from yours.”  Someone else was talking about a family dispute and said “the problem is you are all living in a lie”.  If truth is truth, in both these cases, someone is lying.  The ultimate aim should be to discover the truth.  Anything else is a copout

People often vehemently protest that their point of view is truth.  Politicians especially are adept at this kind of persuasion.  However, to the honest observer it quickly becomes apparent that there are different “truths”.  That is the only explanation for the often opposite viewpoints that are promoted by different people as being truth.

There are different kinds of truth.

It is an absolute truth that the earth is round.  However, the fact that there are still some people who believe it is not round attests to the fact that we actually often believe what we want to believe rather than believing the real truth.

There is what I would call faith truth, like Jesus is God.  We base our faith on that on the trust that the Bible is true, and our experience of our relationship with Jesus. We cannot prove it scientifically, just as we cannot really prove scientifically that God created the universe.  It begins to look like proof when we realize that more questions are answered when we we believe that God created the universe, that Jesus is God, and all the things that go with that, than not believing it.

Then there is purely subjective truth: “Pap and vleis are the best food ” – a traditional South African delicatessen.  Only those who love it would agree with this statement.

It is not wrong for us to have different viewpoints.  Where it becomes wrong, maybe even dangerous, is when we consider ourselves to be the expert in every area of life; when we deny others the privilege of having their own opinion.  Most dangerous of all, is when our motive is proving that we are right rather than seeking truth.

We should first of all recognize our own fallibility. How’s that for an absolute truth!  We should also recognize what kind of truth we are talking about when we bandy the word “truth” about.

There are “people of the lie” (see M. Scott Peck wrote a book “People of the `lie”).  They are a a certain kind of person who never wants to accept responsibility for their own mistakes or weaknesses, even perhaps wrongdoing, but constantly hides behind others, blaming everyone else for everything that is wrong in their lives.  In that respect that kind of person is like Satan, who is the inventor of the lie.

Can truth hurt?  It only hurts those who do not want to hear it.  We need to realize, and this applies particularly to Christians, that the manner in which we convey truth can also hurt.  That is why the Bible exhorts us to “speak the truth in love.”

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