“Common things are common. Rare things are rare.”
I could hear my doctor’s words of wisdom dancing through my head as I laid in bed waiting for the lab results to come back from my visit the day prior.
I had a pounding headache, fatigue that had me in bed for up to 16 hrs a day, lymph nodes down my neck that popped out like marbles, and I was breaking out in hives at weird times of day. I was sick, and I was WebMD-ing myself into an internal panic. It could be cancer, some rare autoimmune disease which only affects 0.08% of the population, or…it could be mono. I, however, was convinced it was more serious. I didn’t have a sore throat like you supposedly have with mono.
Finally, I went to see my doctor (I should have gone sooner, but you know, the WebMD panic was too much fun…not).
She took one look at me, felt my lumpy lymph nodes, and ordered a mono test.
That’s it? One test? I wanted to know what was wrong with me! There is no way one stinking test could do that. I needed the TRUTH!
That’s when I asked her, “Could it be something other than mono? I mean, I’m okay running another test. I don’t want to just settle on it being one thing and miss something.”
She looked at me and said, “Of course it could be something else. It could be lymphoma, leukemia, something autoimmune, or just hyperactive lymph nodes. BUT,” she continued, “Common things are common. Rare things are rare. We are going to start with what is most common, and if it’s not mono, we will figure it out from there.”
She was right. It ended up being mono.
I walked away from my visit with more than the truth about my condition. Her clever little quip stayed with me, “Common things are common. Rare things are rare.”
Overcomplicating the truth
As people we tend to complicate, over analyze, misinterpret, twist, and confuse a lot. Much like I had done with my mono diagnosis. Sometimes this isn’t all that important. For example, I’ve way overcomplicated which face moisturizer to purchase because I want it to have good ingredients but also be affordable. Is it a waste of time? Yes. Does it impact my view of God, the world, and others? No.
Other matters are important, like ones that affect our worldview or the way we live and treat others. For instance, what we believe about salvation, sexuality, genders, the value of human life, integrity, fidelity, work ethic, etc. When we over-complicate these, and don’t seek the Word of God, we deceive ourselves into believing something that isn’t true. We end up living our own truth.
The absolute truth can always be found in the Word of God.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).”
Choosing what’s uncommon
God’s truth is readily available to us. We can find it, if we want to. Most of us, nonetheless, are content parading around as truth seekers without seeking what is true. Few of us actually care about what is true by God’s standard. Our sinful human nature wants to believe a truth that is popular. A truth that looks “close enough” to God’s truth but justifies something we previously knew was sin, or a truth that is more “enlightened” than God’s truth because it is more “loving” and less “judging”. We like playing God and defining truths like these. They are more comfortable truths. We enjoy living a deception that makes us feel better about ourselves and others.
In our culture, it is common to find people living their own truth. In fact, it is often encouraged for people to live their own truth. It is rare to find people living God’s truth.
When we live our own truth we live out lies and ultimately rob ourselves and others. Every time we embrace a counterfeit truth we do not live life abundantly the way God intended. Only truth rooted in Scripture is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), has the power to set us free (John 8:32), and is full of joy, purpose, delight, and satisfaction.
Although I over-complicated my mono diagnosis and was happy to hear I had a common illness rather than some rare disease, when it comes to living out truth I want to be anything but common.
It is common to twist or ignore parts of the Bible to fit your truth, to live short-changed, embracing a lie. It is rare to have the Bible be your truth and to walk in the abundance of God’s truths. Only you get to choose whether you are common or rare when it comes to the truth you live by.