Matthew 7:13 echo the simple words spoken by the Messiah over two thousand years ago. These words remind humanity that there are two directions for life. These paths characterise on the one hand relativism and the other absolutism.
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These paths are not a choice and are not equal. Their destinations determine a life spent either in God's defined, articulated and expressed will or man's unbridled world of self-determination and punishment.
A wise person once said 'no matter how fast a lie is the truth will catch up with her'
A most fitting expression of this proverb may be found in the fable of the tortoise and the hare.
Fables are often known as fictitious stories which point to particular truths. The story of the tortoise and the hare comes from Aesop's Fables. A collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE.
The story concerns a Hare who ridicules a slow-moving Tortoise. Tired of the Hare's boastful behaviour, the Tortoise challenges him to a race. At the start of the race, the hare shoots off leaving the tortoise behind. Confident of winning, the hare takes a nap midway through the race. When the Hare awakes to his horror he finds that the tortoise has crossed the finish line before him.
We can draw out from the characters and events in the story the clash between absolutism and relativism. These two opposing views can subsequently help us to appreciate why the truth will always catch up to a lie.
The hare represents the lie and embodies the life conditioned by a world of relativity. Proud and arrogant he ridicules others weaknesses and promote his own strengths. He is only content at the head of the pack and does not see this paves the way to his downfall.
The tortoise represents the truth and embodies the life conditioned by absolutism. Humble and meek he values others strengths and is open about his weaknesses. He understands that weakness can be a strength and strength can also be a weakness. His contentment is in producing the hidden qualities of patience, endurance and long-suffering.
These characters guided by the forces of absolutism and relativism reveal to us our innermost desire for respect and justice in the world. We can either live like the hare or win like the tortoise.
Absolutism or absolute truth means; a quality of truth that cannot be exceeded. It means the holding of absolute principles in political, philosophical or theological matters.
Relativism or relative truth is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture.
Many today think that truth is a relative and a subjective thing determined by individual perceptions, circumstances, facts and statistics. We are pressured to think that truth is relative and nothing absolute.
However for the kingdom citizen truth is God's defined, articulated and express will revealed completely through Jesus Christ. This statement is made absolutely clear when Jesus states: 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
The truth through Christ defines the reality we must stand for. This includes not just the promises of God but the lawful and just way he brings it to pass as our King and lawgiver.
For relativism to grow it must stem from the idea that there are no absolutes, no definitions to maintain, and no one to be accountable too. A lie is anything which presents an alternative to God's world view and process and hence is the breeding ground of relativism.
The bible records the history of broken lives who fell to an alternative picture of the truth. The scriptures, therefore, takes great pains to warn and teach us of the dangers of deception. Read Proverbs 12:22, Psalm 101:7, 34:13 and Colossians 3:9-10
Lies and relativism are always introduced along the following lines:
- Undermining the authority of God's word.
- Denying the consequences of sin, disobedience and rebellion.
- Adding an alternative incentive which never matches up to the original.
Contrary to the world, the bible instructs the citizen to measure themselves against the standard provided by their King and his word. This way is counter to relativism and forcefully opposes the idea of measuring ourselves against ourselves.
The scriptures also warn us of the impending judgement and destruction upon lying and its offspring relativism. Read Proverbs 12.19, 19:9 and Luke 8:17
The question is whether the outcome demonstrates the mercy of God unto godly sorrow or the judgement of God unto worldly sorrow.
Jesus makes this point through the parable of the housebuilders. Both spend the time and resources building very similar houses, both would also experience the similar challenges of life, yet only one overcomes.
The notable difference being the foundation upon which each built.
To lie to oneself is to think that God's laws do not apply to you and that somehow your transgressions are winked at because you are special.
Let God be true and every man a liar, the folly of this sin makes a mockery of God's slowness to anger and desire that men would repent rather than be punished.
The Word of God is true what a man sows he reaps regardless whether you are in or outside of the kingdom.
In short the substance, character and standing of the truth will always mean that whilst a lie seems to gain momentum more swiftly, it will always ultimately lose on the bases of its lack of merit to finish the race.
In closing good citizen, the scriptures remind us that the race is not for the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Rather knowing the conditions of the race we are to obtain the prize through the spirit of truth and in so doing bring forth the reward of the fruit of the spirit.
For king and for country...