>A good friend of mine asked me that question at the beginning of this year. I was taken aback but never one to give knee jerk answers I said, “I’ll get back to you”. It’s been almost 6 months and earlier this week I finally gave him an answer.
I know a lot of things to be true but the real journey in life, for me at least, is learning to accept the truth.
I just finished reading “The Great Divorce” by C.S Lewis. In it Lewis shows us a profound grasp of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. It is a place so real, so solidly built on truth and goodness that it can be painful for humans to even walk on the grass at first. In this allegorical story, when you first arrive in heaven you are given a guide, someone from your past life to help you. Everything is revealed by your guide, all questions are answered and the truth is laid bare.
One of the most profound moments in the story comes when a man who prided himself in on having an open mind in life meets his guide and continues to ask questions while refusing to accept the answers, every answer, no matter how plain only leads to another question. Finally his guide becomes frustrated and responds;
Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.
How many times have you heard someone comment that truth is all in the interpretation, or that there are kernels of truth in all things? That’s just poppycock! Truth is the absence of falsehood. A kernel of truth is not enough to make something right which is otherwise wrong. Conversely, all it takes is a tiny bit of falsehood to spoil the truth.
When I was a boy my father attempted to make fruit wine, goose berry I think. He did everything himself, harvested the fruit, squeezed out the juice, added the yeast and carefully sealed it up in the bottle. Everything was going well until one day he noticed something floating on top of the liquid, barely visible to the naked eye, it was a vinegar fly. Somehow the seal had been broken and the entire batch, months of work, had been spoiled by something no bigger than a speck of dust.
That’s what a kernel of falsehood does to truth. But if we take an eye dropper and place a drop of fine wine into a vat of vinegar we don’t suddenly get wine do we? To get at the truth you first have to eliminate all that is wrong. To take the analogy further rather than drop that fine wine into the vat of vinegar, you remove it, as far away as possible from any potential corruption. You protect that drop of wine like the precious and vulnerable commodity that it is.
Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a “pearl of great price”, something to be cherished at the exclusion of all else.
Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it. [Matthew 13: 45,46]
Lewis makes it very clear that no questions remain in heaven all you have to do is accept the answers. To continue to question, after you’ve found the truth would be like dropping fine wine into a vat of vinegar.
So what do I know to be true? Jesus said it best…
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:31,32]
It all comes down to the things He taught.