Tag Archive for Truthseeker

Overcoming the World: Part 5–As Far as it Depends on You

live at peace with everyone

 

Constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

 Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them].  Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view].  Do not overestimate yourself.  Never repay anyone evil for evil.  Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone.  If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  (Romans 12:12-18 AMP)

 

Well, the election’s finally over, and as expected, it has stirred up more issues than it has settled.

 

As is usually the case, Truthseekers were at a loss throughout this election, since Truth and politics are generally not found in the same place at the same time.  Some of us voted defensively, some of us searched in vain for a viable third party candidate, and some of us just stayed home.  Now that what’s done is done, we’re all asking ourselves the same question.  “What do we do now?”

 

Well, the answer is the same thing we’ve always done.  Seek Truth in the common ground.  But how do you find common ground in a nation so divided?

 

I covered a lot of this during the last election in the Us and Them series.  However, since it seems to me that strife and discord have been amped up significantly this time around, I would like to focus on the concept of peace and the part we have to play in it.

 

We are called to hate what is evil and cling to what is good.  In a climate such as this, I would suggest that we focus on the clinging to what is good part.  It’s too easy when emotions are running high to go from hating WHAT is evil to projecting that righteous hatred onto people, which is the line we should never cross.  If the news is raising your blood pressure, watch something else.  If your “friends” on social media are stirring the pot with their ignorance, get off Facebook and go put your face in a book.  Better still, put your face in THE Book.  Remember, all evil things will eventually pass away, and the good will remain.  So why expend our energy on things that won’t last?

 

We aren’t supposed to judge people anyway, but we REALLY need to get past this judging people by whom they voted for.  I think most of us can agree that there were no good choices this year, so why should we judge someone else’s choice?

 

That person you’re angry at because he or she voted differently than you and is venting about it on social media—who was that person to you before the election?  Did you respect him or her then?  So why not now?  No one’s inherent worth is diminished by a single ballot.  Remember that.

 

A Truthseeker’s objective is to end arguments, not start them.  It is not our place to try to inject moral superiority into the discussion.  For this reason, I urge patience above all.  Resist the temptation to “correct” people, even if they are obviously wrong.  When people are angry or upset, the lids of their minds are fastened tightly, and you aren’t going to reach them anyway.  Pray for peace and reason to return to our society, and wait patiently for this to pass, because it will.  Dust can’t settle if you stir it up.

 

Look for ways to be kind to people.  The needy are still needy, so don’t forget them.  Let wherever you are be the “safe space” where discussion of politics doesn’t have to happen.  There are so many other things to talk about.

 

Don’t take the bait when some fool on the internet calls you out, directly or collectively, for how you voted and/or the motivations behind your vote.  Justice is God’s job.  If they have it coming to them, they will receive it in their due time.  This is a good opportunity to practice forgiveness.  After all, our sins are forgiven to the degree that we forgive.

 

I don’t really know that there were any “winners” in this election, but there are many who will lose.  I am not suggesting that the criminal element of our society that would riot and destroy and call it a “protest” should be treated with compassion and understanding, but there are many people who stand to lose something dear to them in the upcoming administration.  Be compassionate while they grieve their loss.

 

Make the most of every opportunity to establish common ground with people, preferably face to face.  Listen to their stories.  See people as individuals and not as members of a group.  Come alongside people in their difficulties.  Focus on solutions rather than problems.  Above all, pray first, and listen carefully for an answer, before presuming to dispense wisdom.  When tensions run high, even the most well meaning of advice can be perceived as an attack.

 

And PLEASE avoid the temptation to seek revenge, whether in word or deed.  That is NEVER our job.  It is natural to feel some sense of satisfaction when the times shift in your direction after they have been against you, but it is not our place to rub anyone’s nose in their own misfortune.  You will never earn someone’s respect by spiking the football.  Just hand it to the official and go back to the sideline.  Justice is God’s job, and part of that is righting wrongs.  It will happen in His timing.  Don’t force the issue.

 

Most importantly, it is up to you to make the first move toward peace.  You will have to use your best judgment with each individual you encounter as to whether that means actively extending an olive branch or remaining silent.  Things are going to be ugly for a while.  They may get out of control for a time as well.  You have a choice to make it better or make it worse.

 

You may not be able to single-handedly fix what’s broken in our nation, but how you treat other people is one thing that you CAN control.  So stand firm, pray hard, and keep hoping for the best.  It WILL get better eventually.

 

DN=: Part 15–Homophobia

Phil Robertson

 

Homo-  Greek prefix meaning “same”

-phobia  from the Greek ‘phobos’, meaning “morbid fear or dread”

 

 

(A phobia is defined as)  a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.  In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities. Edmund J. Bourne—The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook

       

So taken literally, to be homophobic should mean to be irrationally and  constantly in fear of being the same, to the point of avoiding conformity even when there is no direct threat to your individualism, and if that conformity proves unavoidable, submitting to it would reduce you to a quivering lump of Jell-O.

 

The word “homophobic” was invented by psychologist and gay activist George Weinberg in the 1960’s.  It first appeared in print in 1972, when the American Psychiatric Association still considered homosexuality a mental illness.

 

An actual phobia, on the other hand, IS a mental illness.  It is a form of anxiety disorder that frequently requires psychiatric intervention to overcome.

 

Now if a person were to freak out being in a room full of homosexuals, perhaps due to a fear that gayness is contagious, and was unable to function for the rest of the day as a result of that trauma, then yes, THAT would be a phobia.  Specifically, a form of xenophobia.

 

I don’t know any Truthseekers who behave that way.

 

Therefore, I call B.S.

 

CHRISTIAN DN= HOMOPHOBIC

 

Since a Truthseeker’s habit is to push the boundaries of his or her comfort zone, fear has no opportunity to enter the equation.

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB)

 

Because fearfulness and sound judgment cannot occupy the same mind at the same time, a Truthseeker could not conceivably hope to correct behavior from a position of fear.  This makes the suggestion of a Truthseeker being homophobic, even if that were an actual word, a logical impossibility.

 

The irony here is that the correction that is inspired by God’s love, which drives out fear, is the very thing that the “=” community regards as being homophobic.

 

Because of this, some may ask, “What gives you the right to go around ‘correcting’ people anyway?”  Actually, it isn’t a right so much as it is an obligation:

 

“Do not hate your brother in your heart.  Correct your neighbor boldly when he does something wrong.  Then you will not share his guilt.

“Do not try to get even.  Do not hold anything against one of your people.  Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself.  I am the Lord. 

(Leviticus 19: 17-18 NIrV)

 

Notice that “Do not hate” is followed immediately with “Correct your neighbor boldly.”  Hatred and correction, then, are clearly opposites.

 

Therefore, it follows that the absence of correction where it is needed would indicate the presence of hatred.  It does not matter whether one actually FEELS hateful or not; it is the actions, or lack thereof, that make the difference.

 

For this reason, correcting the behavior a homosexual, or that of any other sinner, is an act of love based upon sound judgment. It is not an act of hate stemming from bigotry and judgmental criticism.

 

Nevertheless, there is still one more hurdle to overcome.  It is the nature of all humans, not just homosexuals, to reject correction.

 

Our pride makes us become defensive when our belief systems are challenged.  Frequently the first method of defense that we use is to deflect the correction back at the corrector.  Basically, we sweep our own faults under the rug while attempting to drag our neighbor’s faults out from under the same rug.

 

When Truthseekers are on the receiving end of this defense mechanism, they usually find it accompanied with another H-word.

 

(Which we will explore when this series concludes with Part 16–Hypocrisy)

 

DN=: Part 8–Hate Speech

Truth is the new hate speech

 

 

Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  (1 Peter 5:8 CEB)

All of humanity has a common enemy—Satan, the accuser.  The enemy’s primary goal has always been our destruction, but he has been busy developing some new tactics.

 

First to review, you’ll remember that in Part 3, we identified “righteousness” as being a right standing with God the Father, which is made possible only through a trusting relationship with His Son, Jesus.  Those with whom the enemy succeeds in denying this opportunity for righteousness will nevertheless still crave it.

 

However, since they have allowed themselves to be cut off from God’s saving grace, they are only able to manufacture a false perception of righteousness.  In their desperate attempt to elevate themselves in their own minds, they find themselves compelled to disparage others in order to make that possible.

 

The enemy facilitates this process by helping those under his influence categorize people into groups and label them.  Then he directs his unwitting followers to abuse the people in those groups by treating them unequally and criticizing them based on their differences.

 

Over time, these blanket condemnations become a habit, and hatred develops.  If left unchecked by correction, it is possible for this hatred to swell into an epidemic of ignorant bigotry.  This bigotry will then be projected toward the groups of people to whom they are trying to maintain their sense of superiority.

 

Combating this is a struggle we all share.  And it is indeed a daily struggle.  Seeing other people as individual human beings, instead of part of a labeled subset of humanity, requires a generous helping of both humility and critical thinking.

 

Knowing this, our enemy imparts his unwary abettors with a liberal dose of arrogance, which suppresses all traces of humility and artificially inflates their perception of their own intellect, eliminating the prospect of any critical thought taking place.

 

This is where the enemy plays to his greatest strength.  He advises his impressionable followers, “If you can’t convince ‘em, accuse ‘em!”

 

And this is how it plays out.

 

When one of these people attempts to engage a Truthseeker in debate, he quickly discovers the futility of this venture, since the primary objective for Truthseekers is to end arguments, not win them.  Since the arguer finds that he cannot claim the logical high ground, he will then attempt to lower the ground beneath his opponent by attacking his character.

 

But here is the twist!  Since unwarranted character assassination would make him guilty of judgmentalism, he must first deflect his own guilt by accusing the Truthseeker of being judgmental himself, thereby forcing him into a defensive position.  With any luck, the Truthseeker will take the bait, lower himself into the argument, and thus become that which he has already been accused of being.

 

On the other hand, a mature Truthseeker will not take the bait, but will simply hold fast to the Truth, and not change course.

 

When the arguer sees that his attempts at both logic and character assassination have failed, he plays the only card left in his deck by attacking Truth itself.

 

He does this by labeling the Truth “hate speech.”

 

DEFENSE OF TRUTH DN= HATE SPEECH

 

 

The irony of this concept of “hate speech” is that the people most commonly accused of hate speech are in actuality the ones most commonly on the receiving end of it.

 

For centuries upon centuries, Christians have put their trust in the eternal God, in his indisputable and unchanging Word in which He is revealed, and in His universal promises and plan for all of mankind.  In a world where people follow after every wind of change, no matter how ludicrous, we build our lives on the solid rock of eternal unchanging Truth, passing it down from generation to generation.

 

But instead of a fixed and eternal rock, our faith is now portrayed by our degenerate culture as an ignorant and hateful tradition.  We are even demonized for faithfully carrying out our most important responsibility as parents, the passing on of our faith to future generations, with the charge of “indoctrinating” our own children!

 

If parents should not be the ones most responsible for helping to frame the basic worldview and shaping the character of their own children, then who should?  The enemy has some ideas about that.

 

(And you’ll hear all about them if you come back for Part 9—Brainwashing.)

 

Entitled to Our Own Opinions?

Useless Opinions

          

 Opinions are like noses.  Everybody has one, and they’re always in your face.

 We say, “Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion,” generally when we disagree with that opinion.  But are we really entitled to an opinion?

Everyone who has an opinion strong enough to give voice to it typically assumes that his or her opinion is the correct one.  Nevertheless, there’s always somebody who will disagree with that opinion and offer one of their own.

So how do you determine whose opinion is the right one? 

Well, the truth is that NO opinion is the right opinion.  Here’s why.

An opinion is based on belief and perception with varying degrees of fact sprinkled in.  Different facts, beliefs and perceptions will lead to different opinions.  The one thing every opinion has in common, however, is that every opinion is based on an incomplete picture of the situation at hand. 

In other words, an opinion is simply somebody telling you what they think about what they don’t know.

 

 

For this reason, opinions can only serve the purpose of starting arguments.  Furthermore, these arguments have little hope of resolution.  For even if people make a show of listening to another’s opinion, much more often than not, they will still inwardly cling to their own.  Such a conversation will probably end in a mock-civil state known as “agreeing to disagree.” 

I believe the technical rhetorical term for that is “load of crap.” 

A Truthseeker never agrees to disagree.  Rather than attempting to win the argument by holding an opinion in a death-grip to the bitter end, a Truthseeker will do an end run around the argument to the common ground, seeking resolution in the relationship along with the Truth.

Remember from the Nature of Truth series the criteria for Truth:

 

  1.      Truth is Eternal—it was here before you got here and will remain, no matter what else changes.
  2.     Truth is Universal—it affects everyone in exactly the same way.
  3.     Truth is Indisputable—it is what is left over at the end of the argument.

Opinions simply do not fit these criteria.  If it is an opinion that you formed yourself, it started with you and will probably die with you (unless you manage to convince some people to carry it on after you are gone).  Therefore, opinions are not eternal.

Opinions definitely do not affect everyone the same way, or everyone would have the same opinion.  Therefore, opinions are not universal (duh).

Even more of a “duh” is that opinions are not indisputable.  In fact, they are at the very core of every dispute.

Therefore, we can only logically conclude that opinions are not Truth.  As such, NO opinion can be the right one.

Now here’s the sticky part—that means that YOURS isn’t the right one either.

So what to do then?  Simple!  Seek Truth, share it when you find it, and have nothing to do with opinions.  As Paul advised Timothy:

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:23-25  NIV)

 

No one is entitled to an opinion, but EVERYONE is entitled to Truth!