The Difference between True and Truth

22 Sep

We were in a board meeting the other day for Rama de Olivo Ministries (with Shaun and Maria, who will hopefully have a blog of their own really soon!!) As happens every time we gather, the conversation was dynamic and charged with energy as we all discussed current events, books, and concepts that have challenged us lately.

In the midst of our discussion Greg made a comment that stopped us all in our tracks. He said, “There is often a difference between what is true and the truth.” Puzzled by the apparent inconsistency, Jeff questioned the veracity of Greg’s statement with his characteristic simplicity and honesty.

Greg began to elaborate in simple terms a concept so profound that it rocked our world right in the middle of the meeting. “For example” he said. “I arrive ten minutes late to work. I explain to those who are waiting for me. ‘I’m sorry to be late, but the traffic was really bad and my car ran out of gas.’ ” He continued, “Although both those reasons are true, there was traffic and my car did run out of gas, it is not the truth. The truth is that I didn’t leave my house on time to allow for traffic. Furthermore, I ignored the gas gauge when it told me that my tank was low, so I didn’t fill up in time to avoid running out of gas.”

He proceeded to give one more example. “Likewise, I can look at my account balance and say, ‘I have no money, therefore God is not taking care of me or providing for my needs.’ It’s true the bottom line on my bank statement can be low or in the red. However, it is not the truth that God is not providing or concerned about my needs. There’s a world of difference.”

At this point David and I looked at each other and realized God’s Spirit had just spoken to us. Just the day before we had made some important decisions based on fear, desperation, preoccupation and faithlessness. We had examined our financial situation and decided we needed to take matters into our own hands, cancel all “unnecessary” activities and expenses and merely survive until the numbers were more favorable. (Although at the point we made the decisions we felt it was the “wise” and “responsible” thing to do and had not identified the “spirit” behind our decisions.)

After the meeting as we drove south, we talked about what God had spoken to each of us. We realized we had mistaken what was true for the truth and had made some rash and drastic decisions based on our perceptions. As we prayed together God brought both conviction and peace to our hearts and reminded us of whose we are and what we have been called to do. Then and there on the 805 freeway we reversed the decisions we had made just 24 hours earlier. We decided that we needed to make choices based on relationships, not on how much money we have in the bank at any given moment. Our earlier “wise” decisions had been based on our own resources and capabilities and were “safe”. But God has not called us to a life of self-dependence and safety. He has called us to a life of faith and trust in Him, because Jesus dared to claim when He walked on the earth: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life….” John 14:6. If we accept what Jesus said, then it is up to us to decide if we really believe it enough to put it to the test in our daily lives.

That reminds me of another profound thought I received from a friend in college that adorned a poster in my dorm room: “A ship in the harbor is safe…but that is not where ships were made to be.” So stay tuned–we are heading out to the open sea in a boat named Truth!

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