“The Judeans said to him, ‘Do we not say correctly that you are a Samaritan and that you have a demon?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.’” (John 9:48-49)
The Gospels give an account of the conflicts Jesus had with the religious establishment of his day.
How is this good news? What is new or good about conflict?
The god of this world always pits people against each other. Each faction defends its own half-truths while dismissing and abusing any truth on the other side.
Does Jesus add fuel to this fire?
I think Jesus’s life shows us that, despite all the destructive and futile conflicts in this world, some battles are necessary.
Jesus fought the religious establishment knowing what would happen to him. He fought not to win but to maintain his integrity.
He fought because to fight was to be who he was. Not to fight would have been to lose himself.
Who was he? He was what he is—the one who honors his Father.
Ultimately, integrity is victory.
In his integrity, Jesus bore witness to truth—not in a neutral, non-committal way, but, where necessary, calling out people who were harming others by suppressing the truth. He wants us to do the same.
Of course, the fight for truth begins in ourselves. To have integrity, we must seek, find, and accept the truth—the work of a lifetime.
The opinions of our political or religious tribe should not be enough for us—just as they weren’t enough for Jesus.
Instead, we can interpret what our opponents say charitably, acknowledging whatever truth is in it.
And we can turn from rationalizations to reasons, from prejudice to evidence.
In bearing witness, we might be wrong. For the sake of truth, let’s be willing to be corrected.
Jesus had compassion for those who were wrong. Let’s do the same.
A servant of Truth is both militant and merciful.
The good news is that God fights for truth. We can fight with him.