According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2014 is the Year of the Horse, specifically, the wood horse. Symbolically, the horse represents strength, energy, and an outgoing nature. The element wood indicates stability and strong decision-making. We at Brown Horse Garments do not and will not take this lightly. And this year we want to speak Truth.
The Nineteenth-century American writer Ambrose Bierce, cynical to a fault, says, the "[d]iscovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind…“ Paired with his proposition that all countries and, therefore, humans believe they have freedom, Bierce suggests this as our self-deluded monomania.
A century after Bierce, Johnny Cash recognized that humans don’t understand truth, viewing the idea relatively from generation to generation, as the "lonely voice of youth cries, ‘What is truth?’” And Pontius Pilate, interrogating Jesus to discover His crime, asked, “What is truth,” before declaring that he found no fault in the Man. We think Truth is subjective, relative to perspective. I want to believe my truth and let you hold onto yours… as long as it doesn’t stand in my way. Because our society generally believes that objective standards are burdensome and too binding. Morality is a shackle.
But Jesus speaks of the truth, never a truth. He hasn’t made subjectivity an option. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32). And these Jewish believers are astounded! “…We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone…” Let’s return to Eden here, recalling Adam and Eve’s eye-opening after they have sinned. Their first response was to cover themselves with fig leaves. Their second action, upon hearing the voice of the Lord, was to hide from Him. (Consider, for a moment, the futility of hiding from an omniscient Creator. Yet this is a recurring theme throughout human history. See: Jonah, Jeremiah, the Psalmist, me.)
Romans 3:10 reaffirms that no one is righteous and then, in case we’ve missed it, repeats, “no, not one.” If this is the case, and our sin separates us from our Creator, then we need a Savior, one whose truth, the Truth, will set us free.
And we respond like the believers in John 8. I’m free…right? To speak of sin means there are expectations. But “[a]s a dog returns to his own vomit, [s]o a fool repeats his folly. Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:11-12). In the book of Hosea, God commands the prophet to take Gomer, a prostitute, as his wife to present a living metaphor for Israel’s (and our) unfaithfulness to Him. Hosea obeys, conceives three children, and builds a life with Gomer. Yet she leaves, returning to a life of prostitution! “For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink’” (Hosea 2:5b). She returns to her own vomit believing it can provide for her material needs and desires. Hosea pursues Gomer, wooing her and welcoming her back… just as God does for us. “O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity… For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14).
Here we return to the gospel according to John where Jesus answers, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34-36). Hallelujah! Here Jesus not only calls us free, but also declares that our response to sin is wrong. Rather than running away and hiding from God, we should run toward Him, in humble confession, knowing of His steadfast promise to set us free. Freedom, real freedom, is not the right and ability to do whatever one pleases, wherever and whenever one pleases. After all, we are inconsistent creatures who believe and trust in relativity while He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.