Truth vs. Truth

I have an idea that I have been kicking around in my head. I thought I might throw it out for people to help me process it better.

What if there are two kinds of truth within each person? What would that mean?

Here is my idea: I think we have head truth and heart truth. What I mean is, there are the academic truths/realities that we each accept as true and rational, but then there are these other truths that are much more powerful in our lives. They are the truths that actually dictate our beliefs. These are found in our “heart,” which is technically the limbic system of the brain.

In the book Following Through: A Revolutionary New Model for Finishing Whatever You Start by Steve Levinson, Ph.D., and Pete Greider, M.Ed., the key to being motivated enough to accomplish something is to move it out of our rational brain, or the prefrontal cortex, and into the more emotional part of the brain, which actually determines our decisions. For example, we all know that eating right and working out is a good idea rationally, but we struggle to find the motivation to follow through. So we must find a good reason to move the decision into the limbic system in order to find a driving motivation to accomplish the task. A heart attack, or diabetes, or someone we love dying suddenly moves this from a good idea to a determined must.

I think this idea has some really powerful implications for us spiritually. How many of us (or the people we know) can mentally ascend to the truth that God sees us as worthy and valuable, but we live and make decisions as if we are not? This kind of dichotomy in a person causes all kinds of issues, and if we’re not careful it can stunt our spiritual development in profound and painful ways.

Whatever the Christian journey is, it must encompass a way to deal with both head truth and heart truth so we can become the spiritually mature person God calls us to become.

Romans 12:2 says we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. How do we do that?

Ephesians 5: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

So, within the marriage context we see that we have the truth of the word being learned, but applied in the loving, selfless, uplifting context of community. And I don’t think this truth is relegated just to marriage.

Maybe the way we become capable of applying the truth of what we learn from Scripture is in the context of community. Maybe the merger of the two sources of truth (head and heart) isn’t in my ability to will it, but in my desire and determination to engage relationships with other likeminded people. Perhaps developing an understanding of God is critical to my success as a Christian, but added to that, it is also critical to engage deeply in relationships that help me bridge the gap between my head and my heart.

Maybe Jesus knew what He was saying: “The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might. And the second is like it — love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”

If that is true, then the only way to live in one truth (a complete merger of head and heart) is to engage Christian community with my whole self. Spiritual maturity comes with the integration of the two sources of truth in my own life. And no matter what I learn, I can only truly apply and walk out that truth if I am fully engaged in community.

Maybe “love God and love people” really is that important.

May you be fully engaged in learning more and more about God. And may you find the integration of those new truths rooted in living in the context of God’s people.