We cannot hope to find truth as long as pride rules our hearts.
Truth is one of the most challenging things to find in our world. The advent of the internet gives us the ability to justify almost any belief we can think of. Whatever you want to believe, you can find somebody on the internet with reasoning and evidence to tell you that you are correct. In matters of faith, science, politics, relationships – whatever you want – there is somebody to tell you that you are right.
Online companies know that we like to be edified in our beliefs rather than challenged, and as a result they tailor our news feeds around things they know we already like. Compare your feeds from Google and other sources with a friend who sits on the opposite end of the political spectrum – you will see different sources and views being sent to each of you. This is kind of a scary thought, when we realize just how narrow our information becomes despite having access to so much.
But we have to be willing to have our beliefs challenged. We have to be willing to be wrong. Pride is what keeps this from happening, and so often we don’t even realize it is pride that has taken over our thoughts.
Think of people who disagree with you. Why do they disagree? Too often our first thought is because they are selfish, evil, ignorant, uneducated, etc. Yet rarely are these actually the reasons why. Our life stories, experiences and cultures have had significant influence on us, and pride holds us back from saying, “Maybe this person with a different experience and culture has a point.”
We need humility to see the world through another’s eyes and grow in truth.
One of the most important statements of the Scriptures is when Christ tells us about Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6. We often think of this passage simply as talking about salvation, but there is so much more that Christ wanted to show us and bring us. He wanted us to know the Father, to see the character of God on display, and to be an example of what it means to have abundant life in this world, not just the next.
And in Christ we see the absolute importance of humility. As Paul writes of Christ in Philippians 2:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Christ modeled humility in both His life and death. The way Christ lived is very important if we are to find truth in this world, because without humility, we cannot find truth – not just religious truth, but truth in relationships, community, work, politics – all areas of life.
In humility we listen, and when we listen we learn and understand. This is not to say that we should expect to find ourselves wrong about everything all the time. The quest for truth will often lead you to find that you were right! But at the very least, it helps us understand people who disagree, why they do, and gives us tools to love them and help them in their situation.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” James 1:19b. This is an important verse that most of us probably think we’re pretty good at. But if you step back and think about it, how often do you really listen? We ask questions like, “How could they do that?” but when we do so, they are almost always rhetorical. We’re not really looking for an answer. When somebody does something hurtful, asking that question with sincerity makes a huge difference in progress to forgiveness and reconciliation. That requires deep humility. To listen means to not elevate your own thoughts and experiences above others, but to acknowledge that even though you disagree with them, their experiences may have something to teach you. Then we can listen. Then we can come closer to finding truth.
I encourage you over the coming weeks to take time to intentionally humble yourself when it comes to matters of truth in your life – in relationships, faith, politics… step back and try to look at the mountain from a side you haven’t traveled up before.
Pride will isolate us. Humility will draw us together.