Ever hear the phrase “the burden of proof”? I believe it is used when one accuses someone else of wrong doing that the person making the accusation has the responsibility to prove that the wrong doing was in fact committed.
In a court of law, the burden of proof is defined as the duty placed upon a party to prove or disprove a disputed fact. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is placed on the prosecution, who must demonstrate that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury may convict him or her..
Judges explain the reasonable doubt standard to jurors in a number of ways. Often jury instructions provide that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to act upon it in the most important of their own affairs. Reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof used in any judicial proceeding.
As a believer in Christ should there be a burden of proof upon others to prove that we are what we say we are: Christians (which by the way means Christ like or like Christ). Rather, shouldn’t the burden of proof be upon us? In other words, we should not let there be a reasonable doubt in the minds of those observing us that we are anything but Christ like. Since Christ represents the truth couldn’t it be better said that we have a burden of truth. That means we have a responsibility to the truth, to live it, to speak it and to demonstrate it in everything connected to us.
You see for those who are not concerned with truth but practice to deceive in order to get what they want, it can be hard work and exhausting because one lie leads to another and yet another. Then they must track what lie was spun and make sure that subsequent lies coincide with the first and that they agree. If this lying gets out of hand it can be quite complicated. No wonder Sir Walter Scott said “Oh what a tangled web we weave,when first we practice to deceive.” We can get caught up and weighed down in a web of lies if we’re not careful. Before you know it, you can forget about truth altogether and think that the lie you’re living is the truth but yet you feel heavy, entangled or entrapped and can’t seem to get ahead.
Jesus said “…the truth shall make you free,” which definitely sounds good to those of us who desire freedom, but what was He really talking about? This quote comes from the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, and verse 32 of King James Version of the Bible. The entire quote is “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Notice the beginning word in the quote is the word “And” which tells us this is connected to what was said previously. Therefore we need to back up and understand the earlier conversation of Jesus. As you read through Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, it becomes clear that Jesus has identified that the source of truth is God (see verse 26) and if we believe in Him, and that He dwelt bodily in Jesus, we too can experience truth.
Therefore, to have a burden of truth must mean that we have a compulsion as believers to live as God would have us to live and to follow the example of Jesus. If we don’t, then as John also said in his epistle: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1-John 2:4 KJV)
I know at first glance this can seem like quite a burden to carry but in reality it is a much lighter burden than living any other way (and in fact the only other way there must be to living in truth is living in deception or lies and we’ve already talked about the weight of that life). This is why Jesus was also prompted to say: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30 KJV)
A yoke was used to place a pair of oxen in and have them plow the field. So what Jesus was saying is essentially this: when you pair up and work with Him, He illuminates the areas in your life that need work and since you’re not able to do it alone, He will help you out and as a result you will begin to experience and understand truth, thereby becoming free of your old patterns and ways.
Sounds pretty good wouldn’t you agree? So now what do you think of the burden of truth?
Thanks for the article; I was definitely challenged and encouraged. As the saying goes, "if you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Where Christianity is concerned, may we all be found guilty, without a doubt.