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A long time ago (before I knew how to organize a blog post), I wrote about how we live in a post-truth world. While that is still true, I think we have come to poorly define truth. We do not define truth in the light of grace and we do not define truth in regards to immovable constants. In fact, the idea of post-truth posits that there are no constants.
I can see why people believe this way. It is impossible to get the news without slant or bias. Everything you read is trying to convince you to buy or sell something. The fight for our attention is at max, so we feel that we can know nothing for sure because it has all become a game of percentages. Sure that car might work well 80% of the time. But I could be in the 20% that it doesn’t function. Or the statement a scientist on TV makes might be correct 99% of the time but there is always that 1%. What is true and how can we know? It is not as if we are not desperate to know what is real, genuine, and authentic.
In another post, I wrote I compared the authentic and the spontaneous that we often confuse for one another. Our President tweets something at 3:00 am, and we think he is authentic. No, he is spontaneous. A dangerous distinction we need to make sure of because I have seen many a person swindle by spontaneity.
So what is true and how can we receive it?
The answer is simple, grace. Who is graceful to you? Who humbles himself/herself to give you life? We talked about how grace is intimately linked to dignity. Then we talked about how that dignity comes from a place of empathy. Today we learn how humility feeds the empathy that dignifies each of everyone one of us. Do not be confused by the spontaneous. Do not be lead astray by big names and big power because grace is all about little power, growing humility, stronger empathy, and perfect dignity. When you have those you can receive truth, real truth not the fake stuff peddled on TV, Radio, or the Internet. The stuff that is true to you specifically and then is also true for others. Your truth becomes recognizable because people have experienced the same, dignity, empathy, and humility.Do not be confused by the spontaneous. Do not be lead astray by big names and big power because grace is all about little power, growing humility, stronger empathy, and perfect dignity. Click To Tweet
In the first long article, of the series I wrote about how grace isn’t for everyone. If you are proud. If you think you can make it on your own. There is no need for grace. You aren’t a Gracer. That’s ok. Grace isn’t for everyone because grace is a choice. Remember, grace is about dignity. There is no dignity in not being able to choose grace. God respects us too much to make the decision for us.
Grace is for those who need it, the humble. I think of the words of the beatitudes: blessed are the poor, the meek, those who mourn, the hungry. Grace is for them. It is for them because they are humble, they recognize their need for grace. Grace invites others in. Pride keeps others out. Grace plays in the front yard and offers hospitality to the stranger. Pride builds the backyard fence and hides in the garage from the neighbor.
Humility is a key component of grace and to receive truth you need to be humble enough to accept it. It is really hard to wrap our heads around the truth. But think about it. Instead of boldly staking and claiming your truth as your Truth unassailable and unshakable, you receive truth. How humble do you have to be to receive truth? How open and honest, authentic and genuine do you need to be to receive someone else truth? The hospitable person receives that truth and protects it. They may disagree with it, but disagreement doesn’t make it invalid. The only way to change that truth is to find where it does match up with your truth. Which of course requires more grace built from empathy and about dignity.
I know this seems all good in theory. We will explore hospitality for the next series. Before that, I wanted to give you some very practical steps to work on your humility. It won’t be easy but it is essential for Gracers.Think about it. Instead of boldly staking and claiming your truth as your Truth unassailable and unshakable, you receive truth. How humble do you have to be to receive truth? #grace Click To Tweet
How to Be Humble:
- Assume you don’t know everything.
This is hard because we can google a million answers in about 3 seconds but assume you don’t know everything. Assume you can’t know everything. Knowledge is the first step away from humility and it is the first step back to it.
- Ask questions.
Listen to other people’s stories and don’t get bored. Get interested. They have something to share with you that you might need later. I got into a boring conversation that I wanted to leave just last week. But, instead of dodging the conversation, I leaned in. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it because that person got to share their story and who knows because I leaned in I will remember their story. It will come to me perhaps when I need it most.
- Recognize where you need to speak.
So, you have assumed you don’t know everything and you have asked questions. Now you need to speak. It might be scary. It might be too late, but not speaking robs that person of the opportunity to gain insight into their own life. Guess what? That person may not care or be humble enough to hear your story. That’s ok because sometimes you have to just let it go. Sometimes you are just better off hearing their story. But don’t hold your story back in false humility. Tell it. Tell it real and tell it to add to the conversation not to dominate the conversation.
- Allow others to help you.
Look you need help. I need help. Everybody needs help. Sometimes we have to let others help us. Then say thank you.Don’t hold your story back in false humility. Tell it real and tell it to add to the conversation not to dominate the conversation. #story #grace Click To Tweet
Before you receive truth you must remember that the goal of grace isn’t forgiveness. It is presence. God doesn’t want to be explained away. He wants to be invited in. We seek truth as a singular explanation for everything and a single truth. There is a single truth. It just isn’t immobile. The truth is a being. The truth is God. God means a relationship which means presence. Yeah, its forgiveness but that is the surface. Think about the dignity afforded you by the presence of God. Imagine being in the presence of the most famous person you can think of. By being with that person you are being dignified.
It doesn’t stop there though. Grace digs in even deeper. It builds empathy. You might be dignified to be in the presence of the famous, but do you know them and do they know you? Maybe, but you can’t buy empathy. You have to stick around through the hard times, and they have to stick with you through the hard times. It requires so much more than presence you have to feel what they feel, and they have to feel what you feel. That’s a lot of feelings.
Then you get truth. After feeling the feelings and sticking through the hard times you get to truth. You get to share truth. The walls come down, and you can receive truth because the experience of presence and empathy leads to the reception of truth.
When good things happen it might be easier to assume luck or your own hard work, in reality, it is simply the presence of God. When bad things happen you place blame on yourself others luck, in reality, it is simply the presence of God. Good or bad is irrelevant. The truth is simply the presence of God.You can’t buy empathy. You have to stick around through the hard times, and they have to stick with you through the hard times. #empathy #grace Click To Tweet
What is truth?
Ready for it? Here you go the mind-bending truth we have all forgotten. This is from my book From Our Fall.
So what is free will? You might have a variety of answers but the all boil down to filling this statement in:
Free will is the choice between….
If you said good and evil, then you answered the way almost everyone who hasn’t read my book has. But if you believe in the Bible, then God created humanity with free will in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. We weren’t able to discern between good and evil until chapter 3. That means free will is not the choice between good and evil. It is something far more subtle and far more graceful. Free will is the choice between God and everything not God. Check this graph out.
So, what is not God? The average Christian might say the world or evil or Satan or humanity. The problem with that generalization is best discerned through a Dietrich Bonhoeffer idea outlined in his book Ethics. God is in all of everything down to the blade of grass. He exists inside all of us all the time. But that blade of grass does not hold all of God. God is much broader. So to say the world is not God is not quite correct. God is in all of the world.
This is not a new idea. We can even see this as far back as the Ten Commandments. These commandments inform us how God is to prioritized above the created order and our human desires. Choosing not God is choosing the things that are not God above God. Greed and security are what we so often seek from these not gods. You and I choose not God a lot, but that has little bearing on good or evil. Or have you not heard that it rains on both the righteous and the unrighteous? The purpose of the Ten Commandments was to allow God to be present among the Israelites. The rest of the law only expounds upon and specifies within these commandments. Today, God is present among us. The truth is God.God is in all of everything down to the blade of grass. He exists inside all of us all the time. But that blade of grass does not hold all of God. Click To Tweet
Jesus once said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and none shall come to the father except through me.” We must be present with Jesus to receive grace. Grace goes beyond forgiveness. It draws into presence which gives us dignity and empathy so that we can receive the truth. This is the truth. God or not God? You get to decide. Good and evil is important and we can debate that for ages but what it all comes down to is not how good you were for none are more righteous than the ancient Pharisees if you measure yourself on the subjective matter of how good or evil you are. No, the objective truth is God or not God? So which will you choose?