“Is that true?”
Every day you encounter voices, claims, and arguments. You even speak to yourself, almost constantly. Discipline yourself to ask this simple, yet surgical, question. “Is that true?” You know that lies abound. But have you thoughtlessly bought lies? Have you built areas of your life on lies? Are you making decisions based on false things? Are you letting your emotions lead you, though they are birthed from wrong ideas? “Is that true?” To correctly ascertain the answer, you must turn to Christ, who is the truth. It is in the Word of Christ, the Scriptures, that we find the plumb line of veracity. All the treasures of knowledge are found in him, and articulated for our belief from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. Know Christ. Know the Bible. Know what is true. Furthermore, this question is one of your greatest allies in evangelism. Because all the treasures of knowledge are found in the Lord Jesus Christ, all those who sinfully reject Christ as Lord are logically left with absurdity, solipsism, the inability to know anything. This is absurd because no one lives as a solipsist. They all live as if there is a reality by which they live. So in evangelism you will meet someone who makes truth claims and lives by those truth claims. If you ask them, “Is that true?”, you, if you are a Christian, “win”, insofar as winning can occur apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. For if they say no, then they have correctly admitted to the falsehood of their life, that they indeed follow the father of lies. If they say yes, that what they claim is true, you simply have to ask them how they know that. What you will discover is that they claim to know truth on the basis of their own reasoning. And a reasoning person must admit that they cannot ground knowledge in their own reasoning, for they could not know if their reasoning was insane, for to know such a thing, one must employ right reasoning. Life apart from Christ is the absurd life, not the good life. “Is that true?” is a question that uniquely serves as a flashlight to that reality.
Asking this question too often of my parents when I was young got me into trouble. “Nevermind why son. Obey first and then we can talk.” But this question, “Why?”, is like a key, unlocking things in the world. God made man as an explorer, to find, figure out, and rule. Asking “Why?” is essential in that divinely ordained pursuit of figuring out. “Why can a hummingbird fly backwards, but the most patriotic bird in the land, the bald eagle, can’t?” It also is a fantastic partner to the question, “Is that true?” Many self-interested, nefarious folk will present you with statistics throughout your life, and then interpret those statistics for you. “Now, see here, there is a grossly disproportionate representation of young black men in the American prison system. This shows racist discrimination in policing and sentencing.” Well, they’ve tried to answer the “why?” question for you, but why don’t you ask it yourself. Why is there a disproportionate number of young black men in the American prison system? Might it be that there is a disproportionate rate of criminality among young black men in America? Ask yourself, “Why?” Next time someone tells you, “You can’t say that!” or “You can’t do that!”, just internally pause and ask, “Why?” Is it because such is the will of the Lord, as made known in his Word? Is it because such is how God has orderly made his world, as revealed in Genesis 8? Or is it because the person seeking to instruct you wants to suppress the truth, and continue in the fantasy that the Emperor indeed is wearing clothes?
This question is an interpersonal winner. The more you know another person, the more you will recognize, on a regular basis, opportunities to bless them (note: I did not just say that you need to know someone to bless them. I simply spoke to the frequency of opportunities that you will recognize and be able to act upon). An easy example of this in use: Someone tells you they are having a skunk of a day. “How so?” Simply by asking this two word question you get to know this person on a deeper, not just cliche, level. This question also is helpful in getting people to self-analyze their own claims and assumptions. For example, “Hillary Clinton fights for women’s rights.” “How so?” Get ready for something less than coherent, but wonderfully “vocabularized”, in response.