Last time I posted about love. That is, real love, the only kind of love we can learn from the Source, God Himself. That’s what our country needs and doesn’t have. It’s the critical element in bringing us to where we all wish we could be.
This time I will post about Truth.
Truth and God’s unalterable commandments are intimately intertwined. They are one and the same. Truth is reality the way it really is, and God’s commandments are a description of it.
As we begin to investigate truth, our first discovery is how little of it we really have. We may think we know something, but do we really? Investigating the truth of anything we know reveals how little about it we really know. For instance, as I studied physics and earned my BS, I was astounded at how often professors would reply “I don’t know” to questions that lay people think had been answered long ago. “What is really happening in Quantum Mechanics?” “I don’t know.” “Where does mass come from?” “These things contribute, but ultimately, I don’t know.” Etc, etc, etc…
It was Socrates who observed, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” This is a good thought to ponder on for more than a few moments.
An investigation of the truth of things ultimately drives us to humility. In the state of humility, we begin to see how insignificant and unimportant we are to the universe. We begin to see the pointlessness of our actions and the futility of our plans. It is difficult to accept this kind of truth, oftentimes driving people to embrace the philosophy of nihilism. But it is something we must accept and must resolve for ourselves.
I wrote a few paragraphs back that God’s commandments are a description of truth. If you think of the commandments as arbitrary decisions made by an incompetent being, then this is obviously contrary to what you think about the commandments. However, if you accept that there is a divine being who surpasses all limits of the material universe, and you accept that he is really on our side, then you accept that his commandments are a communication to us about something important and true.
Namely, his commandments describe to us what we are likely to do, what we shouldn’t do about it, and what we should do about it. We do not always understand his commandments when they are first given to us, but my experience is that over time we grow to understand them and appreciate them.
Among the category of true things, the most important truth to consider are questions about real human nature and our own personalities. The most important truth we would like to know is, “What should I do?” This is why God gave us commandments in the first place. Without them, we, in our ignorance, have no hope of doing anything right. We have no way of connecting “here” to “there”, “here” being our current state of existence, and “there” being the state of existence we would like to achieve. And so, the first steps in our journey towards truth is accepting the commandments and learning to live by them.
Once we begin that journey, we quickly discover that not only are we living contrary to the commandments, but we have little or no hope of ever living according to them. On top of that, the fruit of our disobedience catches up to us, and we suffer from the terrible burden of our own wrongdoing. Thus, the moment we set out on the journey of obedience, truth is there to stop us and remind us of our pathetic situation. In addition, as we ponder the commandments, we realize that the most important ones regard something that we can never hope to keep. Thus, like Socrates, we are left to cry out, “The only commandment I keep is none of them.”
This on its own would discourage anyone, were it not for an element of God’s character we call grace in the Christian world. In the Jewish system, there was a series of performances and sacrifices the people of Israel could do to free themselves from the consequences of their disobedience and bring their intent into alignment with God’s. In the Christian system, that sacrifice has already been paid with the blood of Christ. All we have to do is accept the free gift which he offers.
Turning our lives around to align ourselves with the commandments is thus a necessity. It requires that we accept the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ himself. It requires that we confess to him with our own mouth the many wrong things we have done and beg him for forgiveness. It requires that we confirm with him that we intend to keep all of the commandments, and that we demonstrate this with good works. We do not understand why this works, but it does. People who follows these steps find the burden of disobedience and error lifted. In many cases, they see the consequences of their bad choices evaporate, sometimes being replaced with blessings as if they had kept the law in the first place.
We begin to feel more of God’s love as we do this. This is love that we can share with the people around us.
We also begin to see people in their immoral, fallen state as peers, not enemies. The commandment that Jesus gave us to love our enemies, and do good to those who hurt us begins to be ingrained in our hearts. We genuinely seek for the salvation of those who consider us their enemies.
Thus, the pursuit of truth is not without purpose. In the end, we can find it, align ourselves with it, and live life the way God intended it to be lived, in joy and happiness and peace.
This is also what America needs. It seems today’s culture is so busy on living in the virtual, or changing reality, or rewriting the rules of human nature, rather than understanding what is real and what is not, and understanding the truth about our mortal state. We don’t need people trying to deceive each other about the way we are. We need people searching for truth in their daily lives.
For those of you who are confused about why God’s commandments are so important, let me summarize them with the following two statements. God’s commandments all hinge on showing our love for God, and showing our love for ourselves and our neighbors. In order to show love for God and people, we need to have love for God and people. Or perhaps I should summarize the commandments with a single phrase: Love one another.
If that is the case, if every commandment is ultimately an expression of love for God and love for each other, then none of the commandments are a bad idea unless you think love is a bad idea. Thus, you cannot be “pro-love” and “anti-commandments”. The two are intertwined.
For those of you who think you know better than God what the universe is all about and what human nature really is, you have yet to study history enough to know the truth about who we are and what we will do. The only times in history when we have done any good at all is when we have been obedient to the commandments. In every other case, bad things have occurred.
Christians, Jews, and others: We need not fear God’s commandments. We shouldn’t hide what they are. Each is a letter of love from God to man. Each is a recipe for love. It is ignorance of God’s commandments that make people hate them, not the truth. If we could all see the truth, we would all conclude that the commandments are correct. So do not give up trying to teach one another the commandments. None of us can keep them all, but we still need to know what they are, measure ourselves against them, and turn from our faults when we realize we have them.