Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Is Truth?

When Jesus was in the court of Pontius Pilate, Pilate asked Him if he was a king. Jesus' response included the statement that He came to the world to be a witness to the truth and that those who cared for truth would know His voice. To this, Pilate said, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38) Or, to quote from Jesus Christ Superstar, 

"But what is truth?
 Is truth unchanging law?
 We both have truths.
 Are mine the same as yours?"
This is a very good question. Especially in light of what Jesus said in John 8:31-32 (Message)...
"Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth and the truth will free you.""
This is, to me, a very personal issue. It is at the heart of walking out of abuse into freedom. Two years ago, I began praying for freedom. At that time, I didn't even know what was wrong with me. I just knew that I wasn't satisfied with the way things were. I knew there was more. I knew I was not operating from a place of understanding and freedom. I knew I was messed up inside. I didn't know all the reasons why. But I wanted free. *Smiling* Be careful what you pray for.

Not long after I began praying that prayer, my whole world began to shake. In the span of six months, everything I thought I knew about church and following God was challenged and shaken and left lying in a pile of rubble. Through this, there is one thing that never moved. God. I clung to Him, even when it seemed like where He was taking me was insane. *Smiling* I am not out of that maelstrom even now. 

One thing I have learned is that you can have a set of facts and land no where near the truth. I think the crux of this lies in that you cannot discern what is in someone's heart and what kind of journey they have been on just by looking at a set of external facts about them. To do so is, in fact, dangerous.

Looked at another way, the Bible is a collection of facts about God and some of the people through history that have either followed Him or fought him. Some people never see it as more than that - a set of facts that must be laid out and followed - religiously... and if that is all you ever see it as, you are missing the Truth... 

I have found that this applies to more than just spiritual things. I spent about 44 years believing certain things about my family and myself and the church and God - things I was taught growing up. Over the last two years, I have had the layers of cover pulled back on things - a little hear, a little there - revealing truth. Ouch! The truth can hurt. But it is worth the pain.

Until I came to the realization of the truth that my mother is incapable of really loving me and empathizing with me, I would forever be trying to get compassion from a stone - seeking help in healing from wounds that were made deeper by the one I sought help from. I didn't see this until last year. When I saw it, it shook me. Seriously. I would sometimes just lie in bed and shake. My entire family paradigm has been forever altered. It hurt like hell to come to the place of accepting that both of my parents abused me - and continue to do so - and that my family, in general, is more critical than loving, and is not good for my mental health. That hurts. The picture of who my family was growing up has been shaken and left lying in a pile of rubble, too. But it is truth. And it is freeing me to break away and live.

I have found that many in church settings are not interested in Truth if it shakes the status quo of their little church group. That may sound harsh, but I have been there myself. It is neither easy nor fun to have the veil pulled back and see the hypocrisy and sham behind so many pulpits - behind entire movements. But to stay in a place of insular false security within an imagined fortress called a church is dangerous. Everything I was taught concerning the church growing up has been shaken, too. 

Hmm... sometimes, as you begin to see the truth, you get angry. And that is not a bad thing. I am angry at the abuses I have seen and am seeing. I am angry at those who use the covering of the institution to use and abuse the children of God. I am angry at those who use the cover of the church to get wealthy on the backs of the naive poor. I am angry at those who practice witchcraft* using the Bible. I am angry at those who tell victims to just buck up and get over it or bear their cross like a good little soldier. I am angry at those in the congregation that would rather ignore abuse and maintain their little perch in the status quo than confront evil when they see it. It makes me want to vomit. 

I think, maybe, that those who are dogmatic usually are operating with facts and not truth. And they are more likely to be afraid of having their interpretation of those facts challenged. Do I have all the answers? No... but I know that God is faithful and He has called me His daughter and His friend. I have a lot of truth yet to learn, but at least I have gotten to the place where I am less afraid of it. Yes, it can devastate, but what is left after the devastation is far better than what was before. Freedom......

* Witchcraft: The attempt to manipulate and control someone else's mind and/or will.


abmo said...

Hi Katherine,

the one thing that stands out for me is the fact that Truth is mainly a Person, called Jesus. All the other things we perceive as truth are mostly facts and as we know, facts can be manipulated to fit our version of the truth :)

Also our version of the truth can send us on a crusade to persuade others to believe the same as we believe. When we are on a crusade, we tend to discard "The Truth" and Love. When we pull the veil back and see the hypocrisy, sham and false security, the first instance is to jump in and fight. But we are called to Jesus(Truth) first because He is also Love. Living out of Him, we can no longer give people our version of the truth, we can only give them Jesus and the love He has for them.

People fight over the truth every day, but they never experience the Love of "The Truth". Perhaps we can change that :)

Katherine Gunn said...

*Smiling* I remember, 1 1/2 years ago, when I began to really see the religious hypocrisy, I asked Papa God if I could take a baseball bat to the religious boxes people had built - that they tried to confine each-other in. He said, "No. If you do that, the people who are leaning on those boxes will fall and be hurt." He smiled and said, "But you can use a screwdriver and a wrench and take them apart, piece by piece."

traveller said...


I like your distinction between facts and Truth. Like abmo I think of truth as Jesus.

I enjoy your insights and thoughts. Thank you.

Also, I agree with your post. :-)

Katherine Gunn said...

Yes - me too. That is the way I had always looked at that verse. I was raised to think that verse only had a spiritual meaning. But He showed me that it means more than that. Although it can come back around - light brings out the truth of a situation - He is the Light... ;-)

Anette said...

Hi Katherine
That setting free part of truth really is amazig, isn't it? Whether you view it as a person or just plain truth (not a lie). To recognize something for what it is, makes it possible to look it in the eyes and face it, because nothing is bigger than our Truth! Just admitting the truth to yourself take you halfway to healling (or sometimes, if you were the "bad guy" - to real change) Oh but it hurt and the consequences can take a lifetime to deal with. But it's always worth it!!

What can I say,
Happy healing Katherine

Katherine Gunn said...

Yes, it can take a lifetime to deal with the consequences of looking at the truth, but once you have begun, there is no going back. Thank you!

Valorosa said...

Great insight ...
I'm curious to know what you are going to do about the truth of your family background?

Katherine Gunn said...

Hmm... I am working on pulling away from family - from depending on them. Then I can interact with them on my terms. I do not foresee having a huge role for them in my future...

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, Katherine.
Enjoying your processing.
:) Go, God! :)

Katherine Gunn said...

*smiling* Thanks.
Yes - go God!

Sue said...

This post brought tears to my eyes, just because I can so identify with what you are saying. I am so angry at the moment, it's a bit scary, and it is all so painful and has been painful for so long that I am beginning to feel like I could just stop talking about it :(

Thanks for sharing this post. It reminds me of that still, determined spirit inside which will go for freedom at all costs (thank God) :)

Blessings to you, dear Katherine

Katherine Gunn said...

I understand. I am a little afraid of the anger I feel rising in me. I was not allowed to be 'angry' growing up. Hmm... I just realized something. I was told that anger was dangerous, sinful even - that is part of the block on my anger. But the other part is growing up watching my mother's anger - my father's anger - I don't want to be like them because that hurts people. Hmm... I am thinking on doing a blog about anger next...

I'm glad this helped you, Sue. ;-)


Stormchild said...


I've read this post repeatedly since you first put it here, and every time I read it, I want to cry -- and at the same time I want to organize a parade and set off fireworks.

Thank you for writing this... thank you for all that you have written.

If anyone in the world wants to know what moral courage looks like when it's at home, they can read this post.

You have a brave and stalwart heart, Ms. Gunn. And I am extremely glad to see that you are not alone!!!!

God bless you. May He prosper you, set your feet in a large space, give you hope and a future, and at long last claim you, some distant golden day, with trumpets and shouts of joy.

Katherine Gunn said...

Hmm... your comment almost made me cry. ;-)

It's odd. I don't feel particularly courageous or brave. I have to take people's word for that. Thank you.


Tyler Dawn said...

Hmmm... the difference between facts and truth seems to be somewhat akin to the difference between approval and love. Religion depends on facts and approval yet mislabels them as truth and love (because that is what most people were taught they were).

I had missed what Jesus said about truth being what we experience as we walk with Him, and not somthing you could reason or grasp, what wonderful confirmation for me :)

Katherine Gunn said...


Good insight. *Smiling* Confirmation is a wonderful thing.

Steve said...

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for your words and courage. Judging by the comments here (and conversations I've had with other women), this is one area of the church that truly lacks representation. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard this past year, stories like yours, that have shaken me to the core and filled me with an overwhelming sadness.

Please continue to write. Your ability to articulate the 'process' can go a long way towards helping others walk towards freedom.

A common misnomor when it comes to our struggles is that we must always have answers. But it isn't in the answer, so much as in the process, where we learn and encourage one another.


Katherine Gunn said...


Thank you for the encouragement. You're right, the process - the journey - is the recovery. Sharing that helps both me and others. :-)


Robert said...

I wonder how closely linked fear and anger are katherine?? I have always buried anger and suppressed it because i thought it was wrong to be angry and because I didnt like how it felt. I am really curious to see what you share about it

Katherine Gunn said...


This is a big issue in the church, I think. Many of us have been taught that anger is wrong. For me, my mother reinforced that - showing anger was a very costly thing. But I have found nowhere in the Bible that it says that anger is wrong. It says not to let the sun go down on your wrath, but right before that it says, be angry and sin not. (Ephesians 4:26)

What Papa has told me about this is simply that it is okay to be angry, just don't act out on other people with it (to hurt - to get revenge). Feel the anger, look it in the face, let it wash through and be gone. Deal with it at the time it comes and don't let it fester till the next day. 'Deal with' meaning, feel it - acknowledge that you are angry and look for what is causing the anger and deal with that, whether it means that you are angry over something that you need to adjust in yourself, or it means you are angry over what someone else is doing that they should not be doing - to you or to others. There are some things that should make us angry. Jesus got angry more than once - and in that, addressed what was the source. (Mark 3:5, for example)

I think that the fear of being perceived as out of control causes a fear of letting the anger out. Maybe a fear of being rejected - shunned, too. This comes from church teaching, a lot - the doctrine of 'everyone needs to just be nice.' Bleah!

I am learning to give my anger - most of which is justified - a voice.


Tracy Simmons said...

Katherine, this is such a powerful sentence that you wrote:

"One thing I have learned is that you can have a set of facts and land no where near the truth."

Isn't THAT the truth?!!!!

Katherine Gunn said...


That was a freeing revelation. ;-)