One of the most self-revealing class series I’ve taught in church was based on the book The Lies We Believe by Dr. Chris Thurman. That’s because everything I believe is my “truth.” Put another way, if I believed a lie, how would I know?
Absurd as it might sound (and yes, my view was self-centered and naïve), I used to believe I knew the truth and all I had to do was tell others what I knew. Then they’d have to see their world the same as I did. If my favorite color was green and the best dessert was strawberry-rhubarb pie, other people should feel the same way. Strangely, those who liked the color red and loved apple pie thought I was weird. Could it be that I was wrong?
My first step to discovering real truth was to admit that I might be wrong. Next, I had to want to know the truth badly enough to consider the realities that I’d been ignoring. I mentioned to a friend something about lying to myself. With a shocked expression, he said, “I never lie to myself.” Of course not. If he did, how would he know?
Suppose I believed bad things should never happen to good people. I must then find explanations for anything that contradicts my belief and refuse to believe anything that contradicts my explanations.
To believe the earth is flat, I only need to say that the contrary evidence is wrong. If we’d been taught that the pictures from space have been faked, that the government has lied about space ships and satellites and travel to the moon, we could support the Flat Earth Society concept that people only think the earth is a sphere when it is actually flat.
I’ve found two ways to discover the truth, which only work if I’m willing to give up the “truth” I’ve believed.
1. Question my actions when they don’t match what I tell myself.
Each tree is identified by its own fruit. No one picks grapes from thorn bushes or figs from briers. — Luke 6:44
2. Ask God to show me where my thinking is wrong.
If you don’t know the truth or how to apply it, then ask God because he’s eager to help and won’t make you feel stupid. — James 1:5