Testing My Christianity: The First To Speak Seems Right … Why Is the Truth So Hard to Find?

The first to put forth his case seems right, until someone else steps forward and questions him.     Proverbs 18:17


It’s like we’re in a matrix where there’s the truth – the actual truth, i.e., what is happening in this dimension – and then there is the “truth” those in power, entertainment, culture, and the traditional media outlets have been reinforcing using their international open mic. The difference between these two realities is becoming increasingly disparate.

It’s like when we were kids and you would get in trouble for hitting your brother back. The key phrase here is hitting back. Your mom would fuss you out and possibly send you to your room for what you did. Sometimes you would get through to her and explain that your brother hit you first for no reason and you were simply reacting to that. Oh, now that would bring out the justice warrior in mom! 

We all know that it’s fundamentally unfair to punish the second one. Why does the first one, the one who starts the mess, get away with it so often? Is it because the second one is so put off by the unfair infringement of the first one that his reaction garners attention? Is it because the one who starts it is usually so sneaky that his surprise attack goes unnoticed? Whatever the case, we have all experienced some form of misrepresentation when the focus goes to the reaction instead of the cause.

There is a common sense approach that instinctively asks: What is she reacting to? Aside from unstable or diagnosed individuals, people don’t just randomly yell, hit, or lash out. They do it in response to something they heard, saw, or experienced. So the rational person, when seeing someone lash out, should ask: What happened that this person is reacting to? 

Whether or not their reaction is warranted and reasonable, or overblown and excessive is another story altogether. Either way, there is a root cause for their response and that is where the focus should be if we want to get to the truth; particularly truths about fairness, responsibility, and consequence.

The scripture says that the first person “seems” right. That implies all is not what it seems and judgement is to be withheld and reserved until all sides have presented their information. Further attention, in the form of questions, is required, as we see in the last part of the verse: “until someone else … questions him”. Questions are a powerful tool to get to the heart of any matter. Don’t just blindly accept and believe everything you hear. Think critically and ask questions.

Questions asked with calm consideration for the individual and an honest desire to find the truth are best because they tend to maintain a civil, conversational environment. As we all know, this is not always the case. In fact, being questioned – especially in today’s toxic, emotionally charged and rampantly prideful society – can lead to defensiveness, diversion, denial, and violently explosive expletives. The art of simple conversation has been all but lost to the common man, so it must be entered into with patience, humility, and a loving heart if any progress is to be made.

Unfortunately, this way of communication is difficult and rarely seen when first person troublemaker is purposely devious. For to expose such deceit and ill will is to awaken the beast who is quite unwilling to go quietly into that good night. You might find yourself attacked with vitriol, lies, excuses, and emotion-laden outbursts; anything to take attention off the root cause of the conflict. This brings us back to the second one in the scenario getting the blame, while the initiator slinks back into the shadows a la cartoon demon, with the pointy-toothed, squinty-eyed, hee-hee-hee-grin.

Getting to the root cause leads to personal responsibility and determination of blame. Yes, blame. Although it has become a buzz-word and a cue to become insulted and hurt, blame is merely a word that means to assign responsibility for a fault or wrong. This should be no surprise, since we all sin and do wrong. Without acknowledging our faults, wrongs, and mistakes, we would be unable to apologize, make amends, grow our character, and learn from them. Once it is known from whence the conflict comes, consequences can be rightly applied. This part can be difficult because no one truly wants consequences – even those that are deserved. 

As Christians, we must be willing to ask the tough questions that lead to truth. Truth will not just set us free, but it has the power to set free those that wrong and those that are wronged. A few simple questions will shine light into dark places of misunderstanding, deceit, and confusion. Motives can be exposed, leading to repentance and forgiveness or stubbornness and bitterness. Either way, there are challenges to be met, lessons to be learned, and growth to be had for all involved.

So, go out and love people, be humble, be strong and courageous, and ask those questions that invite the Spirit to the conversation because when the Spirit shows up, we are all made better.

#notAfraidToThink           #notAfraidToSpeak   #healthyConversations

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