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Truth Will Set You Free

Most recently, my soul has been wrestling with helping parents understand the heartbeat of our school. Some parents are motivated by pragmatic reasons for sending their children to Veritas—rigorous academics, caring teachers, small classroom size, character formation, college readiness. All of these are good things. But if these pragmatic factors are driving a parent’s decision for sending their children to Veritas, these factors are no more than winds that drive a ship without a rudder. We need the winds, but even more importantly we need the rudder, to guide the ship in a clear direction.

To that end of providing that rudder, I would like to share with you the meaning behind the name of our school, “Veritas.” It is from my life passage, John 8:32: “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”

This passage captures three of the deepest struggles in my life, and the solutions for those struggles.

First, it is the problem of freedom. Everybody loves freedom and needs freedom. Physical, financial, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. But freedom is something that cannot be appreciated until it is limited or taken away from us. When we do not understand how precious our freedom is, we will take freedom for granted, just like the Jews in their answer to Jesus: “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (Jn. 8:33). Growing up in America as a poor Korean immigrant, I have experienced limits of freedom in various forms. But the more I lived in America, and the more I studied in high education, the more I realized that America is still the greatest nation in the world because it values freedom—particularly freedom of religion and freedom of intellectual inquiry. I have found the latter one to be critically lacking among our generation. We tend to be swayed by opinions and fads, and not be guided by deep truths. But when I first read these words, “the truth will set you free,” my spirit soared. At Veritas, this freedom is vigorously defended and sought.

Second, it is the problem of deception. It is one thing to know the truth, and another to think that we know the truth. The problem of deception is complex. Rarely anybody thinks they are deceived. But a sign of the end of times is that people deceive others and they themselves are deceived (2 Tim. 3:13). The underlying assumption here is that they do not know that. We are constantly deceived by the messages of our culture, by the opinions of people around us, and by our own sinful desires. I learned that unless I am constantly dashing my deceptions against the rock of the truth of God’s Word, I cannot be free from them. Jesus says, we will be set free, “if we know the truth.” Bible uses the imagery of “washing” ourselves with God’s Word. Veritas is where the hearts and minds of students are purified and washed daily, so that in God’s light we see the light of everything else (Ps. 36:9).

Third, it is the problem of discovery. The scientific method of inquiry is a fine tool. Question, observation, hypothesis, experiment, analysis of data, conclusion. We use it at Veritas. But if scientific method becomes the overarching method of life, then we might fall into the trap of thinking that truth is only a matter of discovery, with the emphasis on pushing ourselves to discover. But I have come to realize that the larger problem in life is our refusal to be found by God. God loves us and pursues after us. He wants to set us free. He wants to open our eyes so that we can see everything. But we like to hide. So, even though we should still seek the truth, and seek to abide by the truth, we need to believe that it is the “Son who sets you free.” (Jn. 8:36). At Veritas, personal relationship with Christ is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. As Augustine put it, it is faith in Christ that leads to true understanding.

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