I was talking to a friend the other day over breakfast, and he mentioned attending seed company presentations. "They throw so many facts at you to convince you their product is the best that there is no way to remember everything they say," he mentioned. I mentioned attending a political presentation done here in Lubbock that featured Edwin Meese, formerly the attorney general under Reagan, and taking my son at the request of the organizers of the event (they wanted people who had children to bring them since it was being held for high school students to show they had a packed house). Meese was gracious and cordial but supported much of what he said with statistics, and as we left, my son asked, "How do you argue with someone who has so many facts supporting what he says?" I replied, "Oh, you put someone from a different political persuasion up there, and when he or she is done, you have to go back to what you believe to be true."
What's the difference between the truth and a fact? In strategic planning, our firm taught us to establish beliefs or core values at the very beginning of the process for the organization. Core values transcend what you do as an organization and provide that organization with those truths that the group believes. These truths transcend time and should be somewhat lasting. "People have an inherent right to be free." I cannot prove this, nor should I have to support it with statistics. This statement is a conviction. I believe it. I feel it in fact. If it has to be proven, it is probably not a core value. "Faith is fundamental to human existence." I believe that in my entirety. I will gladly talk with people about it, perhaps even argue, but in the end I will not be moved. It has less to do with stubbornness and not being open minded but rather it is that much of a conviction of heart.
Core values/beliefs then are overriding convictions, principles, truths that exist over time. These, then, are what constitute a truth. A fact can change. We once taught that the earth was flat and that the sun and moon rotated around it. Discoveries in the past century have completely changed what we once knew about almost every subject imaginable in every field, yet our truths, our core values and beliefs, remain constant.
Forgiveness, mercy, redemption, grace and love all have an element of truth in life, and these elements are the foundation of our faith. In Ephesians, Paul writes "...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead and in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved -..." (2:3 - 5) John 3 says it another way, "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son." As recipients of this undeserved love, we should, in turn, live lives accordingly, showing forgiveness, mercy, redemption, grace and love to others. Can people outside the faith exhibit these same traits? Yes, yet for those of us who follow Christ this love from God clothes us in righteousness before God's eyes. Our sinful nature we could not redeem ourselves from was removed in God's eyes through His Son.
What do you believe? What are your core beliefs? What are the truths that you share with those you are with - family and friends? What does your church believe? What are its core principles, value, beliefs (don't recite a creed now - dig deep)? How is that reflected in action through what you do and what you share with others who hold similar beliefs?
Pray that it is. That people know us by our love and our service to others.
Hope Men's Ministry