In a public setting, a man came after me for using the word “truth.” His complaint: truth is in the eye of the beholder. In good humor, I suggested he too believed in absolute truth, having relied upon it to make his point. As I’ve suggested many times, we tend to appeal to common ground at our own convenience.
Here are four signs that you can’t handle the truth:
An interviewer accused a famous author of lacking compassion for refugees. He asked her, “Did you know I’ve raised over $15 million dollars to assist refugees in crisis?” She had no idea. Instead of trying to understand his position, she had simply railed against him, lumping him in with her assumptions about his party affiliation. Ironically, she herself had done little for actual refugees but curse opponents to her open-borders position. Fights sell newspapers, so every issue is framed up as an either-or. Does the news limit your ability to see the value under another point of view?
Unable to disagree
You are not your opinion. If every disagreement offends, you may identify too much with your views. Civil discourse is the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. The next time you get tangled up over opinions, consider Churchill’s old adage: “If two people agree on everything then one of them may be unnecessary.” Disagreements are part of any healthy relationship. They are like an immune system, rooting out falsehood. Attack the virus, not the organs.
When you have no interest in understanding an opposing point of view, then you’re probably guilty of group think. Group think puts loyalty to a tribe over loyalty to truth. Tribe has been used as a convenient marketing metaphor. It’s becoming a more concrete descriptor of culture. Group think sours people towards differences. It’s part of a herd instinct. An anxious herd reacts and organizes around the loudest and least mature voices speaking their point of view.
The ace in the hole
When people cannot defend their point of view, they sometimes dismiss an opponent as being judgmental. Scripture does say, “judge not,” but the point is to prohibit condemnation, not discernment. We all make observations, daily, about actions and behavior. We all try to discern how to draw lines according to our values. How ironic it is for someone to be condemned for discernment.
“Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls” (Rom. 14:4)