Can Untruth be Truth?

I was writing in my journal last night about some of the places where I fall short in following Jesus’ lead.  Writing things down often helps me identify my own sins and put them into a helpful perspective, and I had been frustrated recently.  So in my writing I made a claim about Jesus that was very helpful in pointing to what seems to be arrogance and selfishness on my part … the only problem is that it wasn’t factually true.

I was talking about times when I have gotten frustrated with my students and passed the blame off on them for not being where I want them to be or understanding the things that I want them to understand.  Then I compared that with how I thought Jesus would react in my situation.  The journal reads like this:

    “As I read for small group tonight I became frustrated with the patience that Jesus had with his disciples because I know that he calls me to that standard with mine.

    It is much easier to get frustrated and blame them for not following well … and when looking at Jesus’ example of this, He had every reason to place blame like that … and he didn’t … Amazing.”

The journal goes on to reverse my initial placement of blame on others and point that back at myself, noting that everything that I get frustrated with I have in some way modeled for my students over the years.  It also wraps back around and allows me to understand the patience of Jesus applying to me in addition to calling me to a standard, and essentially reminding me of God’s grace and reaffirming my call to ministry … It was quite a helpful journaling session … just based on an idea that isn’t actually true.

All of the synoptic gospels testify to Jesus becoming frustrated with His disciples and seemingly blaming them for their own lack of faith.    

    “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

    “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

    Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

    He replied, “Because you have so little faith.”

I’m not a Biblical scholar and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were told that I was wrong about something here.  But just reading that account, I see frustration and blaming from Jesus.  This is not to say that Jesus was wrong to be frustrated or even that He was wrong to blame (I assume that to rightly place blame is not wrong).  If we call Jesus “Lord” than we must assume His rightness here and everywhere in the Scriptures.

So, what of my helpful journal?  Does it go in the trash as heresy now?  Or is it possible that though it doesn’t seem to be true that Jesus never got frustrated with or placed blame on his disciples, there is still some kind of truth for me in that claim?  Maybe there is a truth about the patience of Jesus on a larger scale that I need to be aware of, even if that truth wasn’t represented accurately.

I hesitate to write off the story from the gospels by noting Jesus’ deity and consequent perfection … this would seem to ignore the truth of the incarnation … the humanity of Jesus and its consequent follow-ability.  So do I continue to get frustrated and blame others when it seems appropriate, as I understand Jesus to have done (at least in this particular story)?

That option just doesn’t feel right to me.  And I don’t know if that is a product of the Christian environment that I grew up in or a nudging of the Holy Spirit … quite the de-lima …

I would apologize for all of the above, inconclusive rambling … but this post is accurately labeled “meandering” … so no apology can be given.  Only a hope that, if you find yourself in the same boat that I am in, this will have confused you enough to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as it did me!

I would love your comments!

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~ by Will Norman on January 29, 2008.

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