When Jesus stood before Pilate in John 18 and told Pilate, 'For this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?" Pilate asked a good question. What is truth and how do we know the truth? The truth about God, and who He is has many facets. Your truth may not be my truth, and my truth may not be another person's truth. All truth about God is truth, but then, God Himself IS truth. So that you understand what I want to convey to you, let me give you a few illustrations, or, as the writers of the gospels liked to call them...parables. My children understand a different truth about my wife Lori than I do, and I understand a different truth about her than they do. Their truth is that she is their mother, she is a nurturer, a confidant, a comforter, a dispenser of discipline, and probably more things that they could list. My truth is that she is a lover, a friend, a life-long partner, my wife, a counselor, she is a helper made just for me. So does that mean that my children's truth is the only truth or that my truth is the only truth? My children plug their ears when Lori and I talk about being lovers. They close their eyes and say oohh when we kiss. Lori will never be my mother. Does that mean their truth about her as a mother is not the truth? I hope you see my point.
When it comes to God there is more truth about God than anyone of us can fully know, but we seem to want to insist that OUR truth is the ONLY truth.
Years ago, I was pondering all the strange and unique ways that God speaks to us. Some people hear Him in nature, some hear Him in a picture, some hear Him as they read a poster, some hear Him in a storm as the thunder crashes and lightning flashes. We hear God as we read the Scripture and so many other ways. I asked the Lord why He speaks to people in so many differnt ways. The Lord told me, 'I speak to people in the ways that they will hear me.' I wish I was smart enough, or wise enough, to put forth an answer like that, but the truth is that I am just not that smart or wise. But think about what the Lord told me. We each are so unique and individual that God speaks to us in the ways WE will hear Him. I also believe that the experiences that we have in our encounters with God are just as unique as we are as His children. So my truth about God most likely will be differnt than your truth about God. As we share our experiences and what we know about this amazing God we serve, I am also sure that we will arrive at some common (if any thing about God is common) characteristics about God. Such as, God is Holy, God is Love, He is an all consuming fire and many others. This, I believe, is why the varied writers of the Old Testament described God in so many ways- which we now read as the compound 'Jehovah' names of God such as Jehovah-Shalom.
To drive my point home, I want to share another story. I see a chiropractor on occasion for an adjustment here or there. One of my friends told me about his chiropractor who was always talking about body -mind -spirit and how the three operated in humans for our well being. He said that she was also always talking about the Holy Spirit and how God has designed our bodies to function. This was intriging to me because the Scriptures teach that spiritual laws, kept or broken, have dramatic affect on our physical bodies. (Deu. 28, Josh. 1, Pro. 17:22, and many others). Because I had not been to the chiropractor for a while, and I felt I needed an adjustment, I decided to change chiropractors. I went there for my adjustment hoping also to have an exchange with this doctor about Spiritual matters. During the intial talk with the doctor I assumed from what she told me that she had more of a 'New Age' mindset about the connection of mind- body- spirit. I began to tell her about 'my' truth concerning the body, soul and spirit. She listened and even wrote down what I was saying. She later revealed that she helped everyone that came to her based on their beliefs as a starting point. I realized then that I was not revealing some new truth to her, she had engaged me in my belief so she could have a starting point to help me. She told me what she believed and I realized that she was saying what I was saying only she was using different words to descibe what she believed. When I told her as much she said that she used to read many books, but the Lord told her to stop reading and He would teach her. The Lord pricked my heart in that moment and revealed that her truth about Him was the truth, and that my truth about Him was also the truth. Everything that we both coveyed lined up with Scripture. She was speaking from her point of view or perspective, and I was speaking from mine. I left there realizing that I needed to learn the truth that she understood and become a student and leave behind the role of a teacher.
I also realized, again, that we need to be 'gentle as doves' when we share 'our' truth, and how Paul would discern where the people he was talking to were coming from before he talked to them about the truth of who Jesus was.