Artist’s Lane: Truth: spoken or heard?

By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

I have heard various people say, “speak your truth.” Or, “that is his or her truth.” 

On the surface, it sounds right. Then again, what if you and I say things in conflict, but both believe we are speaking the truth? Could two opposing views be right? It’s a question I struggle with, so I went to the only source I know that is true north, God’s Word.

Jesus said, “… I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” — John 18:37. 

Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

Even though it was standing in front of him, he didn’t know. And, Jesus didn’t answer him. He didn’t need to. Why? Perhaps truth is greater than mere words.

Look around. Every philosopher, religious teacher or social influencer claims to be speaking truth. All I hear is noise. What is it about truth that deafens people from hearing it? 

For years I used to say, “Truth is like the sound of fine china, it has a different ring.” 

Those words were enough for me then. Today, I find I’m digging deeper, listening to something that sounds so different. 

Before our youngest daughter moved to Pagosa, she used to drive back and forth on the weekends from Albuquerque. She always left well after the sun went down. We would beg her to leave during daylight hours so as not to come up on any deer or elk in the dark. 

Her response, “I know, I know.”

One night she called from Stone Lake devastated, “Daddy, come get me, I’ve just hit a deer.”

She couldn’t hear the truth in what we said because her head was full of the busyness of the moment. 

Today’s dialogue isn’t just a singular conversation, but one layered between opinion and expression. As that becomes louder, the intended message seems to get quieter. 

I remember when Vice President Mike Pence and his family attended the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” There were protests denouncing him in light of what people thought about him. He wasn’t bothered. 

When asked what he thought about the protest views, he said, “This is what freedom sounds like.” 

The statement was profound then. But today, it’s hard to even hear what people are saying. There is so much anger, destruction and man-made noise mixed through their words. 

That isn’t limited to something in a faraway land, either. Nearby churches are being dictated as to how and where they can worship. Couple that with parishioners who are fighting over the interpretation of government rulings. 

Evidently, Jesus’ words weren’t heard when he said, “Worship in Spirit and Truth.” 

John wrote in his first letter, “In the last days …test the spirits, whether they are of God. Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” 

That seems to be cut and dry, yet there are many who confess Jesus yet differ in what they proclaim as truth. 

Standing rightly before God are those who are circumcised of the heart, in the Spirit, not in letter. 

“…where praise is not from men but from God.” — Romans 2:29.

Final brushstroke: So, what is truth? I doubt it has much to do with the loudness of judgment. It’s a place where we must find answers before God. Something that comes from a place that is deep in our hearts. Something we will ultimately be held accountable for. That said, what is more important, to be heard, or to listen for only that which the heart speaks?

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This story was posted on September 10, 2020.