Most People Don't Come to
the Truth Because They Think They Already Have the Answers
Over the years I've talked to hundreds of people about their views of God and how someone gets into heaven. You would probably be amazed at the wildly contradictory answers I've received. Obviously, there are right and true answers about who God is and what he requires of men and women order for them to be allowed entrance into heaven.
But so many people have their own unique beliefs which it seems that no else in the whole world holds. In their minds they've concocted a unique scenario for how things should work in the spiritual world; what they believe often has no real basis in any biblical or religious truth. When you question people about why they have these beliefs, it becomes obvious that their semi-logical views are often based upon personal prejudices, childhood experiences and an eclectic mixture of conflicting religious concepts they've picked up over the years.
Now, it's important for you to know that Jesus himself stated clearly that a
man's personal beliefs will actually keep him from the truth and from heaven
rather than lead him to safety.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said: "But if your eye is bad (or evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matthew 6:23 NASB). The first time that I really stopped to ponder the second sentence in that verse, I found it to confusing and even contradictory.
Light and darkness are mutually exclusive concepts. You can't have light and darkness in the same place at the same time. Either a room is dark or it is lit up. Now I know you can have shadows and dim light, but true light and true darkness are total opposites. If you snuff out the light in a room, you suddenly have darkness; nor do you have to bring darkness into a room inside of bags to displace the light. Darkness just takes over when the light is turned off. Darkness really is the absence of light and light's power is what overcomes the darkness.
I believe that Jesus was the greatest teacher who ever lived. Not just the incredible depth of what he had to say, but the way in which he communicated his message are both so profound. So when this verse stumped me, I had to ask myself, What is Jesus trying to communicate when he says, "If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness"?
took me a while to grasp the meaning of those words. But I believe he was
saying, "If you are in the darkness—and you THINK that you are in the light
— how great is that darkness."
My interpretation pretty much matches how the New Living Translation deciphers those words. It says: "And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!" (NLT)
I believe what Jesus was saying is that the greatest enemy of coming to the truth is falling into some form of falsehood or error. If you come to believe that something false is true, you'll never allow yourself to pursue the truth, because you'll be convinced you already have the correct answer.
There are so many different religions and opinions in this world about God and what happens after death that it can be very difficult for people to find the correct answers. There a lot of different and contradictory beliefs on this subject. Many have locked in on one particular false answer, and that makes them unwilling to really hear any other opinion or idea.
A few years back (when paperback books were more popular), I walked into a New Age bookstore. As I began to browse, I noticed an incredibly wide variety of gurus all claiming that they had a corner on truth. What amazed me is that if you stood there for any length of time and read from a number of those books, it became apparent that most of them contradicted each other. If guru A was true about the nature of the universe, guru B couldn't be right. But if B was right, then guru C's teaching would not make any sense.
To me, all these conflicting opinions about spiritual reality should have
seemed so contradictory to anyone who had even the slightest understanding
of logic. But that didn't seem to the other patrons in this New Age bookstore. I guessed that all of
these variant angles and opinions about the nature of truth were being
accepted at face value even though their belief systems were often mutually
exclusive of the other works.
I'm sure many would say that the answer for this obvious clash in teachings is explained by the statement that "all roads lead to heaven." I've heard the statement many times that: "Each person follows his own unique path, but they all arrive at the same destination."
Because I'm a logical thinker and believe that truth is often yes or no, right or wrong, and black or white—that approach simply doesn't make much sense to me. But if you've been schooled to think that we're all of the same path but in different ways, who is one person to judge another if he can find help from on a different path with a different gurus (even if they disagree with each other in many major ways).
There were many different religious books on the shelves and I even recognized a few quasi Christian cult books, so I found myself wondering—as if I was in a public library—where is the Christian section located? So in my naive curiosity, I turned to the friendly clerk and asked her if they had a Christian book section.
The warm expression on her face vanished, like a sudden summer storm. I could tell that my simple and honest question had suddenly revealed me to be the worst kind of outsider. I felt a chill in her brisk answer: "We don't have any of those kinds of books in here." It was painfully obvious that I must be one of those judgmental Christians who believed they were the only ones going to heaven.
I'm pretty sure that if I had asked about any other religious group, guru or teaching that the clerk would have expressed more curiosity than hostility towards me. But from the moment that question escaped my lips, I was no longer a potential customer to be treated with warmth and a smile; I had identified myself as "the enemy" to be shunned, lest I somehow defile her or the store.
Over the years I've noticed how often people's beliefs polarize their thinking and how quickly their backs stiffen whenever anyone who does not think like they do arrives on the scene. This doesn't just happen in spiritual and religious subjects, it also happens quickly in the political realm. Whenever someone encounters anyone who passionately believes in the "the other side" of any argument, it seems people almost immediately begin to backpedal.
If you believe you are in the light on any subject, what need is there for discussion? If you know that you are right, why let someone argue against your opinion, which might only confuse you? Unfortunately, if someone has embraced any belief system without knowing all of the important facts, they could easily be building their decision upon an illusion rather than upon truth. Or put another way, you may have embraced a lie which will keep you forever from the truth.
Over the years I've spent hundreds of hours counseling friends and strangers, talking to them about their spiritual lives and how to help them find the right road to spiritual truth. I've seen this happen so many times that it appears to be a law of human behavior. Belief in anything, and especially about spiritual subjects, is not just a conclusion based upon the facts.
It is almost always a decision based upon many wildly
illogical pieces of information. Most of these decisions—which will impact
our spiritual destiny—are often incredibly subjective. They often make so
little sense that the person holding them can't even rationally explain what
and why they believe what they believe. We decide to do or believe something
because we want to, even though we know it won't be good for us or that our
decision isn't in our own best interests.
So now my question to you is simple. Are you in the light with what you believe about God? Or is your "light" really just another form of darkness? And, are you refusing to come to the light because it will expose things you don't even want to think about?
Many feel that no one can really knows the truth about God and heaven anyway—especially because there are so many different religions and opinions—so they guess that the only way you'll know the truth is after you are dead. Quite frankly, that's the most stupid approach you could possible take. When you're dead, it will be impossible and make the right decision.
I'm here to tell you that you can know the truth. You can come into the light where you will be able to see spiritual truths so much more clearly. And you can definitely come to the truth if you'll just open yourself up to the possibility that truth exists outside of your current knowledge or experience.
On this line of thinking, you might also want to look at the article: Why You Can't Understand which explains some of the spiritual problems people have to believing. Another similar article talks about the fact that there is A War In Your Heart. This war is real and it's being waged against you even though you probably don't know anything about it. It's definitely worth checking out.