In my last article (Lenses) I attempted to explain how it is that truth is relative to EACH person. While many staunch religious believers will argue this case, all you have to do is interact with someone who disagrees with you for 5 minutes to see that this a fact. (Still… you can wear the lens that says it’s only my opinion… and that’s just fine with me…)
What I did NOT say, however, is that truth ITSELF is relative.
Make no mistake; truth is a very real thing. It exists.
The problem with this next level of perspective (lens) is that it often gives us this idea that truth, because it is absolute, is also static/immovable. We have this view of truth as if it is a treasure at the top of the linear staircase that, once reached, makes all of the steps that led up to the top instantly “irrelevant lies”. Not to mention, when we finally reach the top of this staircase and apprehend pure and unfiltered (lens-free) truth (or so we think), it now give us the right to turn back around and criticize everyone else who is still climbing the stairs.
If this is the case, how do you account for the fact that all of those small “irrelevant lies” led you to the final “truth” that you now hold? Or more bluntly stated, how do lies actually lead you to the truth? That makes NO sense, right?
Please allow me to introduce you to what I believe is perhaps the most important lens you can put on in your human journey. Instead of viewing truth as a static destination that you must finally “get to” one day, try replacing the word “truth” with the idea of “revelation”.
Truth is a JOURNEY of REVELATION.
Hopefully, what you believed 5 years ago has probably changed. A lot. Does that mean that what you believed 5 years ago was nothing more than a bunch of “lies”? Better yet… When you came into the realization of THOSE beliefs 5 years ago, did they change your life for the better or worse? Not compared to today ... compared to where you were 6 years ago. Did what you learn 5 years ago produce more or less “life” in you than what you had 6 years ago?
You see, what often happens in our growth process is that we learn something new and exciting, and then we beat ourselves up for ever having believed all of those stupid “lies” that are now so obvious for us to see. The problem is, when compared to what you were before, those so-called “lies” were once beautiful “truths” that set you free from even more obvious “lies” that you believed before that. And so on and so forth.
This is why scripture talks about the progression of growth that we are supposed to walk through. We grow from Faith to Faith. Glory to Glory. We are first Born Again. Then Born of Water. Then Born of Spirit. Then Born of God. We are pruned of our current fruit bearing branches so that we can grow new ones to produce MORE fruit. There is a large list of analogies.
Does the fact that you NOW have a better understanding of truth suddenly make your old understanding useless?
Of course not! How else would you have gotten to the next step on the stairs without first having stepped on the step before it?
Truth is a JOURNEY of REVELATION.
Truth is absolute, but it is NOT static.
A picture that has helped a lot of people understand this concept is to shift your thought of truth from being a linear staircase that goes only one direction, to a spiral staircase that not only goes up, but also around. Within that picture are a few points to consider:
1. While you are walking up the staircase, you are making that journey based on the fact that you wouldn’t have gotten very far without ALL of the steps playing their part. As such… EACH step is a “higher” REVELATION of the truth, not proof that the last step was a “lie”.
2. Not only are you traveling higher, you are ALSO going in a circle. Meaning… There are different truths that you are growing in. The truth about the Bible. The truth about God. The truth about the cross. The truth about your identity. And more. You don’t “figure out the truth about the cross”, then move on and never revisit it again (...at least I hope you don’t). Instead, you live a season with a particular understanding about the cross, you keep growing in other areas, and then at some point you come BACK AROUND to this SAME SUBJECT of “the cross”, but this time your revelation of it is another level “higher” on the staircase. Same subject, but a higher level.
We would never look at a child who is learning to walk and expect them to run the first time. We don’t watch them take their first step and then get disappointed when they fall on their butt at step number two. Instead, when a child takes its first step we get crazy-go-nuts over it. We video it on our phones. Post it all over the internet. Call grandma and grandpa to celebrate with them. Brag about it at work. Dip the shoes in gold and frame them as a monumental moment in history. And then we encourage them to take another step.
Then… at some magical moment… you can see in the child’s eyes that flash of REVELATION… I … CAN… WALK!!!.... OMG!!! … THE WORLD IS MINE!!!
Yet, as adults, we know how far that child has to go. How much MORE there is to grow into. Potty training. Eating real food. Running. Reading. Writing. Talking. And that’s just the kid stuff. Then there’s adulthood. Working. Parenting. Teaching. Creating. The list goes on. So many DIFFERENT subjects. So many LEVELS at which to learn them.
Does the fact that this child cannot run in the Olympics make its first step a complete “lie”? Of course not. Its first step is just as much TRUTH as its first gold medal in the 2044 Olympics.
Truth is a JOURNEY of REVELATION… so go easy on yourself. You’re growing.
Oh ya… and so is everyone else… just sayin…
Austin is just your average Christian who wants to play his part in changing the world. He is the Executive Director of Epoch, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the true ‘Body of Christ’ out of the age of exclusion and into the age of inclusion. He believes that everyone on the planet has a part to play in the family of God, and his passion is to help people find out exactly what that part is in their own life. He currently resides in Traverse City, Michigan, USA with his wife Joanie and his two dogs, Hops and Barley… and yes, he likes beer.
See all previous articles by Austin Fletcher