Having discussed what truth is in the last post, in this one I want to suggest some ways and places that we can find it.
Discovering the discovery of truth
- books (fiction and non-fiction), especially the Bible
people (e.g., family, teachers, co-workers, neighbors, spiritual leaders, passersby)
In essence we are creatures of life, and every aspect of human life is described or illustrated by all these sources of information. The truths they offer can enlighten and strengthen us in uncountable ways. Through both passive observation and direct exploration, all of these sources—and more—have truths they can reveal to us, if we look for it and are open to receive it.
Understanding the discovery of truth
But care is called for as well. For as great as the possibilities are to learn important and valuable truths from these sources, the opportunities to lap up drivel or to simply misinterpret or misconstrue truth are there as well. In our modern culture of ubiquitous marketing and constant demands for our attention, the deception and falsehoods that we inevitably soak up can dilute, weaken, and rot essential aspects of our lives. So finding truth requires discretion and discernment, and constant filtering of the tidal wave of data pounding us, so we can separate the valuable truths we can use from the flotsam.
Embracing the discovery of truth
While we certainly learn many things passively without consciously trying to, we can greatly increase our rate of learning and broaden our scope of understanding by being intensional about it. We can purposely develop and nurture the habit of discovering and learning new truths so it becomes instinctive.
We can do this by learning to be observant—by making a point of noticing situations or events that can teach or illustrate truth. When you see something happen that has either good results or bad results, ask yourself, What lesson can I learn here? What could have been done to prevent the bad results? What can I do to replicate the good results?
We can also learn to avoid situations and places where being misled is easy. For instance, if you know that a particular TV program consistently popularizes poor decision-making or weak morals, don’t watch it. Find a program that shows people doing the right things and making wise decisions in bad situations.
Cultivate relationships with people who approach life with positive perspectives, and observe how they seek to learn from life and experience.
Learn to not be gullible. Think through truth claims and decide if they make sense, rather than just accepting them uncritically. Ask yourself, If this is true, what kinds of evidence of its truth should I expect to see? If it’s not true, what results should I anticipate that indicate that?
Never fear discovering or learning new truths. Although sometimes truth can be painful at first by forcing us to change what we believe or how we behave, we will always do better to pursue the truth than to cling to a lie.
Sharing the discovery of truth
Although people often don’t fully grasp important truths until their own personal experience enforces the point—often painfully—we should share our life lessons in truth discovery to give others the opportunity learn from our experience. Even if only one or two take advantage of it, at least they will be spared the more difficult learning experience.
What sources of truth have you found useful? What are their pitfalls that you watch out for?
Do you agree that the ones I listed near the beginning of this post are valid or profitable? Why or why not?
What important truth have you learned the hard way that you can share here? What have you learned from someone else’s willingness to share their tough lessons?
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