Monday, June 12, 2006


Everyone has a certain single value of primary importance or a combination of several values of importance that affects their decisions, actions, and world view.

For some, good relationships trump all other values. For others, the accumulation of wealth is at the top of their list. Some people value achievement over everything else. Others dream of a high social status and will do whatever it takes for popularity. As for me, I value truth above all else.

By valuing truth above all other values, I sometimes have to sacrifice relationships, wealth, achievement, and social status. Likewise, those who value wealth will often have to sacrifice relationships, and truth in order to accumulate a high net worth and those who place the most importance on relationships will often have to sacrifice wealth and honesty.

Our decisions and our actions are mostly derived from our primary values. People who primarily value relationships will seek agreement, compromise, consensus, and peace. These people will be reluctant to take and express a strong position on most matters unless their social network is in agreement. The final agreement or consensus is as likely to come from feelings as it is to come from a rigorous discernment of facts. People who primarily value relationships are not leaders, but are often put in positions of leadership due to their ability to create peace through agreement and compromise.

For the most part, as I observe those who have achieved wealth or success, I don’t observe people I want to emulate. I observe people who are willing to do whatever it takes to attain what they value the most. Often times, family, friends, truth, and integrity are left in the wake. Success, as defined by most, is not for me.

Debate and the earnest pursuit of truth will always be difficult, if not impossible, on blog sites that value relationship above truth. Debate and the earnest pursuit of truth will always be difficult in Churches that value relationship above truth. Marriages where one spouse values relationship above truth and the other spouse values truth above relationship will experience many challenges.

I doubt very many believers would choose the life of Elijah if they had a choice. I certainly wouldn’t. Elijah had too much trouble, too much loneliness, too much difficulty, and too much doubt. However, I am very comforted by the life of Elijah as recorded in Scripture. He trusted God, declared the truth, considered everything else including relationships secondary, and he left the outcome of his ventures to God. I don’t have the truth from God other than my understanding of Scripture, but I am willing to place truth above all else and let God determine the outcome; trouble, loneliness, difficulty, doubt, and all.


Count Grecula said...

Again, I think Prager has some good insight on this: he says Conservatives value freedom above all else, and Liberals value equality. I've thought about that distinction for a long time. He also says the Conservatives care about what's moral, and Liberals, about what's legal. All of these things are important, but the order in which you place them is also important. Not all "values" are equal.

That's why the most important commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Every other value has to be subordinate to that one. Even the value of not taking life, which you know some of our online friends are so consistent in maintaining. If all you care about is not killing anyone yourself, more people will eventually die. Sometimes you need to trust God and pull the trigger. It's a frightening grown-up world of choice we live in.

I too love Elijah- interesting that you do also. I once wrote a song about when he sat under the broomtree and asked God to take his life. In fact, I almost caled my blog Kill Me Now for that reason.

I also encourage you to remember- and believe me I have Stoic tendencies too- that we are promised more than "the truth from God other than my understanding of Scripture":

There's also this guy:
16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Count,

Thank you for the great comment.

I was thinking about "love" on the way to work this morning. I knew I did not include the word “love” in this piece and I realized some readers may associate the word “love” more with the word “relationship” than with the word “truth”. If “love” is more a component of “relationship” than it is a component of “truth”, then my piece is wrong.

I don’t understand love very well, though. The word “love” seems to include all kinds of jumbled meanings without any specific meaning. I wish our English Bibles were more specific in the translation of the verses where the word “love” is included.

Love can mean making a sacrifice for another person, but it can also mean withholding sacrifice from another person in order to let that person learn a lesson or learn to be more self reliant. Love can mean sharing private thoughts with another person, but it can also mean keeping some thoughts to yourself in order to not burden others. Love can mean punishment and discipline in order to build character in children, but it can also mean demonstrating grace and forgiveness to children who deserve punishment but need grace. It seems to me that “love” has to be more about truth, a proper understanding of God, and obedience to God and proper application of Biblical principles, than it is about relationships with others.

Count Grecula said...

I'm not sure if I connect love more to relationship or truth. You can love the truth in a theoretical sense, but you can only have a relationship with flesh and blood.

Wisdom is also part of thi mix- that controls what form love and truth take when applied to a relationship. Tricky stuff.

In my scripture quote, I was only trying to remind you, as I do myself, that our own reason is not the only way of knowing truth. The Spirit of God - full member of the trinity - is also available to us. Modesty and current rules of intellectual engatgement prevent us from using that in discussion, but He is our Counselor too.

Is it my imagination or has The America Bug left your sidebar? It was the one place left where I could be grouped in with Asghar!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Count,

I can see how it would be sinful to have a passion for the truth and not have love for people. I’m just having trouble understanding how anyone can have love for other people without having a very high regard for truth. I’m sure you are right, wisdom is the proper application of truth.

I am fully aware of the Holy Spirit in my life. However, my awareness is an awareness of hindsight. I trust the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and actions, but I know some of my thoughts are not always correct and some of my actions are not always right. At this point, I don’t have a way to differentiate, in the present, when I am being counseled and guided by the Holy Spirit and when I am being guided by my own urges. Hopefully, God will use me for his purposes, but I know he still has much to teach me as well, and some of the lessons require mistakes on my part.

The America Bug has decided his style and my style are not compatible. I don’t fully get it, but I respect his right to decide who he wants participating at his site.