Truth beyond Beauty

Is beauty true? Yes. But it is fleeting. It’s not much more true than the weather. 

If someone is attractive, most anyone can pick them out of a lineup. It’s a quality that is hard to describe, but we know it when we see it.

So judging someone by their looks is not much different than judging them by the type of car that they drive. The current state is not indicative of the future. And in fact, that’s when beauty starts to fade, and become less true.

Beauty is true, but not for very long. If your confidence comes from your looks, you won’t be confident for very long. If you’re lucky, you’ll exist for a while after your looks fade. Where will your confidence come from?

While you will never be absolutely true, you can be true to yourself. Which is overstated, but never well-defined. Being true to your self is giving weight to the part of you that doesn’t change. The longer qualities have been a part of you, the truer they are. In the same way that time and reality are true to the universe as we know it, these qualities have been true of you. So if you can’t imagine realities without these qualities of yourself, you love them. And if you love the core qualities that make you you, you love yourself.

Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

 

Absolute Truth

Is true in every reality.

Not conditional truth. Like this coffee is good. I look good. I feel good.

What is always true?

Time is true. Reality is true. The past is true, and always true.

But reality had a beginning. Time had a beginning. And if reality began, so did history. Therefore, they are not absolutely true. The only thing that would be true in every reality, even before time and reality is God. So not only is God true, but he is literally the only thing that is absolutely true.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6

Fearing God

 Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear. – 1 John 4:18

How does perfect love cast out all fear? Perfect love would be imagining all realities with God. So if you’re with him now, you’ll be with him tomorrow, and you’ll be with him on the day you die. And for all eternity. There’s no negative reality there. How could you fear? All realities are positive. We call that hope.

How do we fear God? Fear is focusing on a potential negative reality. If we fear God we focus on a potential negative reality. We fear him by realizing that he can allow time apart from Him in his universe, because he controls it. We fear him by imagining those realities without him [in the universe that he governs] and preferring those with him. We prefer his love as opposed to his wrath.

If I fear something bad, then I would be directed towards something good. If I’m scared of spiders, I won’t lead a hike through a cave a night. That will minimize my chance of encountering one. My dad is terrified of lighting, so he may not go on a walk if it’s cloudy outside. While definitely over-the-top, he’s probably not going to get struck by lighting. That’s exactly how I think we should fear God. We should take steps to insure that he’s with us, and minimize the chances that we’ll be apart from him. 

If I acknowledge the power of God, and fear time apart from him, I guide myself toward his will. The love of God is good. But the wrath of God is bad. I fear God by acknowledging that time apart from him is negative, and avoiding that. But if God is all-powerful, then he would also have control over the darkness. It may be the absence of his presence, but he created light and darkness. And would we even know light without the presence of darkness? untitled (1)

We can choose to love him, fear him and have a personal relationship with him, or we can choose to live apart from him, in darkness.

And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. Luke 1:50

Orienting Your Soul

You can’t love everything: because not everything is good. So when we start to love things that aren’t good, we disorient our souls.

If you loved everything equally, why would you care what you did next? How would you decide what to do? If all paths were equal, you would just take the path of least resistance. 

But all paths aren’t equal. There is clearly black and white, right and wrong.

If our goal is to love God better, and spend more time with him, the best way to orient our souls is to align our values with his. To love what he loves, and hate what he hates.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9

So if we begin to do the same, and choose realties and make decisions based on this guidance, we can be with him more.

The closer we get to understanding the right and wrong that’s established for us in his Word, the better we can orient ourselves with his values. And the better we orient ourselves with his values, the better decisions we can make. And the better decisions we make, the more tightly we can follow the path that he’s set before us.

Walk by Faith

Walk by faith and not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

For shorthand, let’s define sight as imagining future realities

This would mean to continue on your path by your belief based on knowledge and truth, not by what you imagine about the future. Hopes and fears would both require seeing in this capacity, where you look forward to either a good or bad event.

Faith would be based on truth, while sight is just looking at potential outcomes.

But if our goal is truth, seeing is not how we live the truest lives. If we walk by sight, we are constantly imaging future realities which may or may not be true.

Remember: The truest sight is the present. We can’t be present if we’re worrying about tomorrow or dreaming about what’s next.

 

 

We Must Forgive

Because we are not perfect, we must forgive ourselves. Because those who we love are not perfect, we must forgive them. Why, because when we don’t forgive them, a portion of them starts to fall outside of our set of love. Meaning that we begin to hate that part of them. And when we hate a part of something, we imagine fewer realties with it. And when we imagine fewer realties with them, we distance ourselves from them and from God.

Our friends and loved ones will never live up to our expectations. If we can manage to expect less, we can be grateful for what they do. For those things that we do expect, when they miss the mark, we must forgive them. It’s the only way to love them properly.

The Magic of Forgiveness

If love is where life happens and where God is, forgiveness is our way to change our hate into dislike, and bring people and events from the darkness into the light.

For instance, if someone wronged you in some terrible way, you may hate them. They have moved a portion of your reality into darkness. If you can manage to separate the wrong from the soul, and forgive it, you can make meaningful progress in moving into a reality where you can love God better.

For a traumatic event, you may hate someone or a portion of yourself. You may hate the portion of you that allowed it to happen, or the portion of them that committed the crime. Learning to forgive myself has been a huge challenge. And if I have done the wrong, I am the one that has ventured out of the light into the darkness. The only way back in is self-forgiveness.

The difference between a grudge and forgiveness is the difference between hate and dislike.

The only difference between hate and dislike is tolerance. If you dislike something, you accept that you will have to endure it. When you hate it, you are actively looking for ways to avoid it. Forgiveness is the magic that helps us move things from hate to dislike.

But we need reasons to forgive. If your believe system doesn’t provide these, you need to keep looking. In Christianity, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So we forgive.

It’s also important for our mental health. Imagine, for instance, that you hate firearms. Realities with firearms scare you. Therefore, to avoid all future realities with firearms in them, you have to really think ahead. But no matter how much planning you do, you’ll likely have another encounter with a firearm, and you’ll hate it. So maybe you seclude yourself. If you never exit your home, you’ll never have to encounter another firearm, or the fear that you’ve associated with it. But you see, your freedom from fear has become a freedom from freedom. 

Obviously you can’t forgive a gun. The next step would be determine the real source. Maybe it was military,  the death of a loved one, or any number of other things. Whatever it was, it can be identified. You don’t hate guns. You hate what someone did with one. If you can piece apart the person and object from the crime, you can begin to forgive, and start moving forward. 

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:13

 

Loving God Better

In a world of love, you literally choose to accept the contents of reality without imagining anyone being removed from that set.

In the set of love, one can use the like/dislike system to establish personal preferences, and eventually personality. And as you know God is love. This establishes character in a stable set.

Life happens in the set of love. 

If a personality is not built in the set of love, it is not stable. If it is built on hate, even on conditional hate, it is built on the ability to remove something from reality. Basically imagining things not existing. So it would be basing personal preferences on something that is unstable, or that does not exist.

For instance, when you say I hate photographers, you’re really thinking I prefer reality without photographers. But it’s not realistic. Photographers exist. So next time you’re around a photographer, you’ll hate it. And be probably miserable. Because you will exist outside the set of love.

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Grudges are a great example of how hate can make unstable realities. If you have a grudge against someone, and are at a party together. All is well until you run into that person. And things get awkward. You were fine until this hate entered your realty. Now you wish either they weren’t here or you weren’t here, but you’re stuck. And instead of enjoying yourself, you’re thinking about how either you want them to leave or you want to leave yourself.

If you hate the way you feel, you are distancing yourself from God. It seems trivial, and I’m not saying you need to like the way you feel. But dislike is not hate. When you got married, you promised in sickness and in health. God wants the same thing.

So if we live inside the set of love, and develop logic and personalities around our identity in this set, we can love God in more realities, and thus imagine more realities with God, and thus love Him better.

 

 

The Greatest Commandment

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:36-37

To love God better, we need to first understand three abstract concepts.

  • Heart- where we feel emotions and intuition. We’ve discussed emotions before as something we create based on our perspective.
  • Soul-  the part of us that never dies. Where our logic resides. Where our memories reside. So if our logic does not match God’s logic, we can not love God with all of our minds, because that logic produces the thoughts that govern the mind.
  • Mind- what produces thoughts based on our logic

So the heart feels, soul interprets, and mind produces thoughts.

We love better God by using the proper perspective to govern our emotions. Writing logic based in the Truth to govern our souls. And using better logic to produce wholesome thoughts. And using those thoughts to do good in the world.

 

The Pride Trap

Pride is thinking your past or present makes you better than someone else. Humility is the opposite of pride. Humility is closely correlated with gratitude, which we said was greatest when expectations approached zero. Therefore, pride occurs when expectations are higher. The more we expect, the more prideful we are. And the more prideful we are, the harder it is to be happy.

If we were all made in the image of God and God is with us all, there is nothing to set you apart from the next person. You are equally special and important.

To think, I am better than everyone else, forces you to disconnect. No one is worthy of your love, so your reality begins to merge with realities that only include you. Loving this reality is the same as hating everyone else.

The more qualifications you have on your love, the less love you will have. And the less love you have, the less God you have.