I’ve always had an obsession for truth.
Besides scientific truths (that the world is round or that one and one is two), philosophical truths about the human condition that could help boil down the complexity of what makes us tick, were always on the forefront of my mind, everyday.
But what defines truth? An unwavering commitment to one’s own reality? Or simply something that can not be found proven against?
And what happens when something true for me doesn’t necessarily stand true for you? Then, shall we search for a more politically correct adjective, and in that context, does the term “truth” become irrelevant and vetoed?
I’ve grown up as a Christian female. The truth was always directly tied to the notion of God, and his son born to us, a savior, Christ the Lord. This was always my truth, and because of the circumstances under which I came to learn and feel about and for these “truths”, I started to associate “truth” with emotions that would bubble up to light a smile on my face, or trigger stinging behind my eyes.
In this time, I could still measure truthiness even in aspects where religion would seem a non-factor. Such as, should I make efforts to work on a friendship that only seemed to cause me pain, a relationship where the love and respect felt very one-sided. What was the truth of the matter, not in the perceived reality, but in how I should handle the situation?
In those cases, I would immediately voice my personal truths. It hurts, it’s unfair, it’s outright stupidity to be the sole contributor to something that requires the work of two.
But that was then followed by what felt like a greater truth; to forgive and to endure the pain, and proactively love despite the hardships, because that was what Jesus, the greatest champion of unconditional love to sinners, did for me. Reminding myself of his truth helped me feel empowered to execute the truth that if I was a temporary martyr to my friendship, it would either turn itself around in time, or if not, I would fall closer to understanding the level of loneliness Jesus must have felt during his most betrayed times. Either way, I’d come out as some sort a victor.
The truth I’d follow at this point in my life was the one that followed an ideal, the one that inspired, and this could always be measured by the pocket wells of tears threatening to burst at a moment’s notice.
As I grew up and out of the church, I ran into many more kinds of people. The nonreligious kinds. They were just as good, if not better, at least outwardly. More comfortable with themselves, less confused. These were the kinds of friendships where I didn’t feel gut-wrenching pain from, they never prompted me to search for truths to sacrificially execute any Christian morals. Their companionship was easy, their reasonings for daily life more sound.
The truths they gave me were societal truths. Find your skill, find a matching occupation, that would define success. That could bring you happiness. Be kind to others. Mock the weirdoes. Like you who like, but don’t force it with those you don’t. Be generous, and smile. It was so simple. There were no hidden agendas, no fluffy wordage to cover up intolerable behavior. No insisting that seemingly hurtful actions were a thing inspired by a divine God.
Their version of truth became a lot easier to live by, and a lot less complicated to share with others.
Applying this type of truth to the previous scenario, I would be free to stick to my former inner truths. Cut out relationships that are flowing only one-way, because it’s unhealthy, and honestly, because why bother? They would say to me, with consideration of my affinity for God in mind, that why would He insist I stay in a relationship that induces so much headache and heartache? That if He does indeed love and care for me, wouldn’t he want my attention and time devoted to greater things?
I am now a product of two kinds of truth. And I live to say that for a good portion of my adult life, I really struggled to have two things take equal precedence in my life and values.
But I have to say that for the best of the best in both groups, leaving people out without having tried to get to know them and understand them would be marked as a great disservice to what humanity should stand on, and a disservice to God even. And to both groups, this logic stands as truth.
I am proud to say that I am now a simplified version that was birthed from what seemed two intensely clashing people groups. What’s left is the filtered product from years of stress and racking my brain in trying to find out “who’s right” and “how can I lay it gently to the losing party with the least amount of offense as possible”?
Truth, in the philosophical sense, must always stand as a subjective thing that we must take with a grain of salt to avoid applying it forcefully out of context across all scenarios. The idea of ultimate “truths” in this sense is almost as real as reality TV, and just as fun to discuss.
For, each human being has been brought into the world with each their own brain. And maybe if you’re looking for a truth at all, it matters more if it’s a truth that you can live with and find comfort in. After all, what is the point of truth if there is no freeing and redemptive quality to it?
After all, what is the point of truth if there is no freeing and redemptive quality to it?