There’s a pandemic. Everyone is infected. It begins as an acute madness until it ravages the Body. You might be surprised (or not so surprised) to discover that this particular disease has destroyed the health in unprecedented ways. It is a germ that spreads vigorously and among the general populace, showing that all are susceptible. Few, if any, seem unmarked and unmarred. Perhaps you might notice some of the symptoms: irritability, anger, rage, disunity, back-biting, arguing, discord, emotional outbursts, impaired logic, hatred, demonizing opposition. Have you seen it?
It is a germ that spreads so quickly and in the most unlikely ways. It spreads through newspapers, books, articles, and blogs (watch that you don’t contract it by reading this!). It spreads through unguarded tongues. It is contracted by interaction with those already fevered with fear, distrust, and insecurity. What’s the primary cause of this disease? Truth.
It’s hard to believe… but Truth is the problem! There is an obsession with Truth… at least, partially. Truth, it is suggested, can make everything right. If people are behaving poorly – they only need better information! If there is something wrong with the world, well, let’s place an IED of Truth in their path to clear things up. If they are especially difficult and unwilling to budge, we need merely carpet bomb or send in a Predator drone of Truth to dislodge the problem and set them straight. After all, isn’t Truth like a sword?
Surprisingly, there is a reaction! Bombs are hurled back…. WHAT!? Wait a minute! How dare someone drop Truth bombs on us when we were only trying to help and correct! They obviously are ignorant, dumb, uncaring, sinners, reprobate, devils… plus, they smell funny. They obviously are deranged… any sensible person can see that. Let’s hurl some more Truth bombs back so that we can show them the error of their ways!
The cycle continues – ad nauseam. <— Rough translation – “until I want to puke.”
Kierkegaard wrote, “There is no lack of information in a Christian land; something else is lacking, and this is a something which the one cannot directly communicate to the other.” In other words, there is a difference of knowledge that is merely informational and a knowledge that comes from a participation! Meaning, the manner in which we communicate must be equally truthful and in proportion to the content of our communication.
I recently saw a post on facebook. Someone close to me wrote: “I wish things were different.” Having gone through a number of difficult issues, the person was not saying that faith was no longer important. But, you might have thought so based on the number of replies. Somebody said, “God has plans for those who love Him.” Truth bomb. BAM!
We are so concerned with the content of our message that we too often neglect the manner in which we communicate. Our sickness keeps us from seeing that too often our message is contradicted by our method.
If we believe that God came as a servant and did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (Phi. 2), then the way that we communicate must also reflect this Truth. If God is said to be patient, slow to anger and abounding in love… doesn’t that suggest something for us as well? Or, if Jesus tells Pilate that His Kingdom is not of this world, for if it was his followers would defend it… does that not shape the way in which we interact with our world – even if their mission is to quiet us by any means necessary? Jesus’ mission was to testify to the Truth… but, His Truth had a Cross at the end of it. Shouldn’t the “right” word also be an “appropriate” word? Truth bomb…