This week I had to do a reflection for my ethics class regarding what is really right or what is really wrong. It took me back to some time to the things my father and my mother would say. My dad would say there is only one truth which is right and two versions. I would respond by saying what do you mean dad? My dad would say whenever two people get into a disagreement they always believe that their version is the right version. He said the one person believes their version is truth and the other person believes their version is truth. Then he would say but there is only one TRUE right which is God’s right. He would say Gods truth is the only truth that is right. He was teaching me how to handle reconciling disagreements where it would appear as though everyone’s version of the truth seemed right.
My mom would say there is always some truth to everyone’s version of the story. It is not up to you to decide who is right or wrong. When you don’t know look at all the data, pick out the true facts that you know can’t be lies according to God’s word. Then anything that is obscure or hidden ask God to reveal it to you. She would always say God teaches us in his word that if we lack knowledge or wisdom about anything that we should ask him for it. I know that I am not the only Christian that has ever been caught up in the middle of a disagreement having to serve as a mediator to bring all parties to a place of reconcilation.
As I wrote this reflection I recalled the story of the two women in the bible who each had a child. This story took on new meaning. To make a long story short. Each woman had a child but while they were sleeping one child died. The one whose child died saw that the other was sleeping and she switched out the dead child for the one who was alive. When the other woman awoke she noticed that the child was not hers, but that the other woman had switched her living child out for the dead one. They went before king Solomon and he was left with the task of trying to determine how to make a just ruling or in today’s society bring this to a resolution.
Both stories had some truth as they argued they both said they had a child, which was true and right. It was also true that both children were born alive. However, the woman who currently had the dead child in per possessions version implied that the child that was alive belonged to her. While the other version implied that the woman who had dead child was lying about the living child being hers. Like my dad said two different versions. But only one true right. However, both woman thought in their mind that their version was right. Why? Well some think that a person’s experiences in life, their culture shape their ethical behaviors. Clearly one woman was wrong on so many different levels but her moral compass allowed her to believe that what she was doing was okay or right. While the other probably had different experiences in life that allowed her to believe that when you made decisions that were honest and true they would always lead to the best outcome. Mind you both woman were said to be prostitutes, so a person cannot say that because they live a certain lifestyle they have a corrupted moral compass.
Now what was the king to do. I believe in that moment he had an epiphany or what some call discernment. He said, in reconcile this problem to determine a ruling on what is right. I am going to tell these women that I am going to cut this child in half. I will tell them that I will give one half to one and one half to the other. Problem solved right? Many are probably thinking that is a bit harsh. But sometimes problems need to be confronted head on in order to get to the root of what is right. You can’t allow a problem to fester because it will only continue to grow. When he said that to the women one of them showed compassion and love. She said to the king don’t kill the child, she can have the child. But the other one had no compassion or love for the child simply said go ahead and kill him. The king used an unconventional method to reveal the truth. King Solomon, gave the child back to the woman who showed compassion and love towards the child knowing full well that this person was the Childs’ mother. This woman was willing to sacrifice a life without the child she birthed. She was willing to give that child up just so that the child would remain unharmed.
God calls individuals to weigh decisions carefully. Individuals should do their very best like King Solomon to make just rulings when having to mediate between debates or disagreements. We are called to be peacemakers. If we are unable to make just rulings in order to keep peace then we are not in agreement with God’s word. But in order to be a peacemaker we must permit God to show us what is just, and what is right. Remember there are always two versions but only God’s one right truth. God’s truth requires individuals to set aside what is known to be versions of truth presented to them, to trust him for His one right truth. In the natural individuals may want to believe one person’s version over another person’s version, but there is only ever one right version and that is God’s truth.
Perhaps this story was not so much what to do in a disagreement or a debate, as much as it was to not rely on self, or person to make a just judgement. But to use the discernment and wisdom that comes from God in order to bring a just judgement that brings reconciliation in a way that uncovers God’s one right truth. The king did not base his just ruling on two separate versions of what the individuals presented to him, but instead used wisdom and knowledge that came from God to determine the one right truth. We know that King Solomon was given that wisdom and knowledge from the Lord. Based on what was revealed he gave the child to the mother who showed compassionate love wishing no harm to come to the child. We may never know the whole right truth of any version of a persons story or the whole wrong truth but we know that God’s truth is always the right truth, which leads to a just ruling. Individuals should permit God to give the discernment needed to bring just judgement towards reconciliation in a compassionate loving way that does not bring more harm to all involved. That is why the only right is God’s truth!
1 Kings 3:16-28
A Wise Ruling
Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.” The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king. The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’ ” Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.” When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
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