Truth, by very definition, supposed to be at the exclusion of other perceptions that are not truth. The kinds of truths that make this world run on the material, philosophical and spiritual truths. Many things that are material can challenge the intellect and are not for everyone. Math truth seems to have waved bye-bye to me a long time ago. But there is plenty of room for grasping philosophical and spiritual truths for the Forest Gumps and Einsteins of the world. One of the many things I love about Jesus is that the teachings are so accessible. When they are not there is even a follow up explanation.
But in the teachings and ultimately the authority of Jesus Christ as Lord is that in the gospels He is continually breaking ground or building something in His Church. Jesus was not running for anything but the cross by which He would redeem the world as the atoning Lamb of God and form a holy community.
But in casting a vision of truth in the Sermon On The Mount Jesus knew that there were deceivers coming to people in the assembly of the day and of days to come so He addresses this.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).
Beware of false prophets— Obviously they could be ones who predict something and it does not happen. But comparing within the same book of Matthew we see in chapter 24 that there would be ones who say, “I am the Christ”. They are wanting to be the beginning and end of God’s kingdom in place of Jesus. Jesus is unique and anyone trying to usurp that and elicit worship that belongs only to Him is false where Jesus is truth.
come to you in sheep’s clothing—- Many Christian may know a thing or two from when they have seen deceivers come into the world or even into Christian fellowship. In the first appearance they seem good. Maybe they do some good works or speak a dialect of “Christian-ese” fluently. A deceiver that draws people from the simplicity and devotion to Jesus may fool some leaders some of the time even.
But what are some basic fruits that Jesus says we should look for? We are informed on what to look for in John 10.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.” (John 10:1-5, 7-13).
We learn here that they get among God’s people without respect to the authority of Jesus. We learn later in the gospels that Jesus delegates authority to others who likewise pass it on to others. It could be implied that they are the “gatekeeper”. If someone is self-appointed and wants to exercise new truth we ought to be alert right there. What we also see is that they will not have a healthy view or endurance when hardships come like the specter of death or persecution. Whereas the DNA of the Church that Jesus builds is that it is “the pillar and foundation of truth”. Jesus and the true gatekeepers will open and close the books on truth without error but the false shepherds will pollute everything.
I would like to point to the life versus destruction that Jesus speaks of. Life more abundantly respects the dignity of the human soul and body. If the reader here is checking out Christianity, take a look at the fruits of its teachings when followed correctly. I emphasize “when followed correctly” because, as GK Chesterton said, one should judge a medicine for when it is taken. Christianity, as can be seen in history, supports real life in all its forms. Moral relativism will only plant ones feet firmly—in mid-air. Its fruit is death to the dignity of the person and the family.
Last, on discernment, I challenge the reader to be careful about their sources in light of the real deal of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Do your influences state something about right living based mostly on “I feel”? At the time that I write this there has been a Supreme Court decision that has ruled that same-sex marriage must be recognized as a constitutional right. I am seeing on Facebook many Christians who have openly defied Jesus the Shepherd under the “Gospel of Nice” with the new holy sacrament of “I’m okay, your okay”. They celebrate the ruling for the wisdom of the age in place of the wisdom of the ages. If for a moment someone begins to wonder if they have been deceived, look at the fruit of the prophets of this age. What is the fruit of no-fault divorce and later remarriage? What is the fruit of abortion with the people involved? The wisdom of the age seemed so convincing at the time. Could the fruit be bad in the long run about gay marriage if natural law and spiritual law is violated. I have my not so wile guess.
Make no mistake: sheep are dumb. We need Jesus and His chosen, broken servants to walk right and not the false prophets of moral relativism scattered in the media. It is up to each of us to see truth with the right eyes.