Truth Makes Free
By Bishop John W. Hanson
Suppose a private shuttle pilot was flying a single engine plane over the ocean and was struck by an unidentified object. While attempting to radio for help he realizes that his radio has been damaged. Soon, he notices a small stream of gas spraying out the side of the engine housing. Being far from the mainland he frantically redirects his small craft toward the nearest land mass. Luckily, twenty minutes later, just as he approaches a sandy beach, his engine sputters to a stop and he glides safely onto the remote, uninhabited island.
After safely exiting the plane they discover an abandoned farm with a few crops that look as though they had been growing wild for few years. They take shelter in the house, eat some sandwiches from their cooler and become better acquainted. The older passenger is an uneducated farmer and the other a young man who had just earned a master’s degree, in physics. Both men begin offering solutions to their dilemma.
The young scholar says he thinks he might be able to alter the plane engine’s to run on modified, potato juice. He read an article in which someone had hypothesized that such a fuel might be made. But he had never done it before. The farmer tells about how he used to make ethanol from corn. He had spotted corn on the farm. If they could fix the gas leak and make a few gallons of ethanol they could fly to their destination.
The pilot is left with a simple choice; He has to decide which idea is most likely to set them free. It is not just about being right for argument’s sake. It is not about winning an intellectual debate. It is not about being politically correct. It is about deciding whose solution would really work. The right answer will be a matter of life and death. He chose the farmer’s tried and proven solution.
Life puts us in situations similar to the pilot’s. We often need more than an easy answer or a popular ideal. We need truth. Truth is not relative philosophy that is concocted in the academia. Truth is not determined by polls. Truth is what is real and right. It is something that wise men seek. Jesus said, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
Some people seek truth like they shop – they look for the Madison avenue ads or watch to see what everyone else is buying. To make matters worse, people are often made to feel ashamed of beliefs that don’t fit the trends, the norms or the opinions of the noisy people in a culture. The results are not good.
Other people search for truth as if their eternal life depends on it. They do not seek truth so can feel superior to others. They are not trying to find it so others will approve them. They are not just trying to prove themselves right about their values and opinions. They are seeking the truths of life that have been long proven to make people free.
Just as scientists have discovered the acceleration of gravity, the boiling points of liquids and how the water cycle really works, believers have discovered inalienable truths that make people free. Perhaps that is why the core truths of Christianity have outlived so many world empires, so much anti-Christian bigotry, and so much persecution. For centuries people have been warned that the truths taught by Jesus are mythology. Some are shocked that they keep resurfacing. Truth resurfaces because it is true, not because it is politically, culturally or socially embraced. Throughout history some cultures have discovered incontrovertible truths such as the 10 commandments and prosperity and freedom ensued to whatever extent they lived by those truths. Most of those same cultures have also experienced a decline when the people convince themselves to try cheap substitutes and counterfeits. My prayer is that our culture will choose to seek truth rather than arbitrarily deciding what they think is best, because truth makes free.