This past week I was asked to speak at a local homeless shelter, a faith-based rescue mission that teaches and equips people to climb out of poverty and homelessness.
When I was thinking about a topic… I found myself being a little judgmental and insecure. I mean, sure, I can speak to women— after all, I am one! I can relate to them- and them to me… We have so much in common: husbands, laundry, multi-tasking, crazy busy schedules, and the list continues.
But honestly, I didn’t feel I had the ability to speak into the lives of the homeless. The last thing I wanted was to be judged: “She doesn’t know me; she doesn’t know what it’s like, who does she think she is…”
I prayed… “God, what are they like? Are they angry, bitter, sad, full of regret or contempt?”
His answer? “They are mine.”
That is what we have in common. We are His. Absolutely, that is our identity. And everything else is relative.
While we may be relatively different (circumstances), we are also absolutely the same… (sons and daughters of Christ!) From that perspective, the Lord reminded me of something that I would like to share with you.
In life, let’s be certain we know the difference between what is a relative truth… and what is absolute truth. (When we figure it out, let’s pay more attention to the absolute truth!)
I had everyone in the quaint chapel repeat after me: “I can do 20 push-ups.” For several,this is true. For me, this is true…But for some, it was not a true statement. Immediately, we could see that this truth had loopholes! It wasn’t true for all. It could change from person to person, and it could change over time. What is true today may not be true two years from now… It was based on our behavior, habits, and qualifications. This is a relative truth. The statement is variable based on circumstance, performance, opinion, or preference.
I bet you can guess where this blog is headed… As Christians, we understand the Word of God is absolute truth. It’s true for all, all of the time, no matter what. It’s true if you believe it; true if you don’t. It’s timeless, unchanging and shows no regard or favoritism towards people.
Absolute truth is unaffected by the attitude of the one professing it. We simply do not have the ability to make God’s Word NOT be true. We can not screw up enough to make it not be true. We can’t refuse to believe it enough to make it untrue. It’s true for believers; it’s true for atheists and agnostics. God’s Word is true for the wealthy and the blessed; but also true for the poverty stricken. It’s true for the hurting and for the hopeless.
In a room of strangers waiting to be served breakfast- together, we considered this verse:
Do we really believe that God sings over and delights in us? So many don’t feel worthy. We get duped into believing that God is disappointed or frustrated with us. We are identify with performance based promises. We may not admit it, but we believe that our bad behaviors make the good verses not apply to us anymore. On some days, it’s hard to feel like He likes us… even harder to grasp that He delights in us!
God’s Word is true. It may not always be easy to believe, but it’s ours to stand on.
We had one more statement to consider. I told them: “The sun is always shining. The sun is hot.” The crowd offered many mixed responses… While it is absolutely true that the sun is both always hot and always shining— most of us agree that we don’t always see or feel it! I saw the most beautiful sunrise on my drive into town that Sunday morning. While it was beautiful, it was actually so cloudy that I couldn’t see the sun at all… just the layer upon layers of shaded pink and orange clouds. I knew the sun was there, but what a cold brisk morning.
We don’t always experience the full warmth of the sun. Our experience is relative to our position. Additionally, our perception may be skewed or blocked. Yes, the sun is shining, but we can’t see or feel it behind layers of clouds. (But it’s still there because otherwise the world would be black and frozen!)
God’s truth is absolute – but over time, our position and perception may keep us from experiencing the fullness and the power of it.
The truth is absolute, but your ability to experience it may be relative to the amount you believe.
If you believe that God is mad at you or that He doesn’t want to answer your prayers, your experience will likely be a reflection of those feelings. If you layer unbelief on top of distorted images of God, mixed with layers of guilt and shame, disappointment, hurt and fear, it may be difficult for you to feel and receive the warmth of God’s love. But does He love you any less? Nope. You can deny it all you want, but He loves you still.
Likewise, if you read a verse that doesn’t reconcile with your heart, if it doesn’t feel true… Believe it anyway. Circumstance and situations in life are hard, they often don’t match up with how we want them to look, or how we think we have prayed. Does unanswered prayer make the word any less true? Nope.
Clear out some of the clouds and look towards the sun! You may need to wait for sunrise, reposition yourself, or just weather the storm. But, the sun always comes up tomorrow.
Likewise, the Word of God is unchanging! (Isaiah 40:8 and Malachi 3:6) His word doesn’t not fail; it produces what He sent it to do. (Isaiah 55:11) God is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) His promises are Absolute Truth! His promises are yours!