Sunday, April 14, 2024

The truth that matters most

| February 16, 2024 1:00 AM

Quite recently I commented in a small group that I believed Israel had a right to fight Hamas in order to survive. Hamas launched a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians and has vowed not to quit until all the Jews in Israel are eliminated. I wasn’t trying to be controversial, but my comment drew intense disagreement from a man whose view was that Israel was the real aggressor.

We finally simply agreed to disagree and dropped the subject. The man had a different understanding of what the truth of the matter was than I did. This simple fact brings me to the subject of truth. I do not consider that man to be a liar. I don’t think he considers me to be a liar. Liars willfully misrepresent the truth. We both said what we believed to be true.

Obviously, we couldn’t both be right. Neither of us knows anywhere near the whole truth on the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Both of us had been there personally. Both of us thought we knew enough to favor one side over the other. Clearly, the truth cannot always be easily known with certainty.

Probably the great majority of those reading this would agree with that last paragraph. On some issues, however, it is very important to know the truth with certainty. To illustrate, I heard recently about a commercial airliner that ran out of fuel and crashed. The problem was that the amount of fuel needed for the flight had been calculated in kilograms, but those who fueled the airplane thought that the number given them was the number of pounds needed and put that many pounds into the airplane. A kilogram is slightly above two pounds. The plane had less than half as much fuel as it should have had when it took off. Disaster followed.

Jesus said that those who live by what he taught were his true disciples and that they would know the truth that would set them free (John 8:31-32). He was not claiming that his disciples would know all truth, but that they would know enough truth to be made free from their bondage to sin. Scripture repeatedly emphasizes that believing the truth about Jesus is of utmost importance. Luke wrote his Gospel so that the reader would “know the certainty of the things” he had been taught (Luke 1:4). Nothing matters more.

Pastor Dan York ministers at Dover Community Church.