Do Not Seek The Truth
Have you ever been reading something, and you came across a phrase, a quote, or an idea that just floored you? Maybe you wrote it down or underlined it in the book, or perhaps you just filed it away in your head where it troubled you or made you think.
It could be that I'm just a bit odd, but I find these kinds of things all the time, and more often than not I end up writing and reflecting on them with you all in my daily devos.
Here's a perfect example of a quote that I read and wrote down a few days ago, and I haven't stopped thinking about since.
It's a quote from the 3rd Chinese Patriarch of Zen, which is probably the coolest title I have seen for a person in a very long time. Here it is:
Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish opinions.
I had to sit and think about that for a while. You might have also been put off by the first part of it, as I was when I first read it. "Do not seek the truth," doesn't seem like good advice, even if it comes from the 3rd Chinese Patriarch of Zen.
But here's what it means: Our search for the truth is often sabotaged by our own certainty. We cherish our own opinions more than we do those that might lead us to broader thinking, deeper introspection, and perhaps even from discovering the truth itself.
Recently, I've been preaching on the book of Job---a parable of a man who tries to understand why God seems to let bad things happen to good people.
At the end of the story, Job finally gets an audience with God to plead his case, and to try to show God that God has gotten things all wrong when it comes to his treatment of Job.
But God simply begins to assail Job with all kinds of questions, like: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth... hung the stars... created the world...?"
Confronted with the fact that he doesn't know that much about God and God's purposes, Job ceases to speak and repents over his frustration with God and his own self-absorption over the troubles he's faced.
Job lets go of his certainty, releases his opinions, and embraces his unknowing when it comes to God, the universe, and everything. At that point, he begins to live again, to find a new way forward and discovers the truth about himself, and his beliefs.
I read a prayer the other day that I'd love to share:
Let me not force my own certainties on others. I could be wrong. A generous tolerance can smooth out many rough places in my day-to-day living.
As you move through your day today, do your best to cease to cherish your own opinions. Let go over your need for certainty, especially in your own ideas and beliefs, and in so doing you will discover what is true about you, and about God.
May it be so for you and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.