What Does 3 Sides to Every Story Mean? (Y1.T1.D53)
Updated: Feb 9
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I first experienced the expression "There are always three sides to every story; yours, mine, and the truth" after witnessing an automobile accident.
I was about to cross the street when a car sideswiped another. From my perspective, the one who crossed the intersection on my side ran the red light. I was surprised that pedestrians on opposite corners placed guilt on the other driver.
So who was right? We all accurately reported what we saw from our angle. And the actual event existed in all of our stories.
The same is true for the passages we will read today. Mark and Luke report having seen one demon-possessed man while Matthew records two. This doesn't mean the Bible has errors any more than it means I was wrong about what I saw.
The power of this story isn't in the number of people present but in the traumatic state of a demon's victim. "Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones" (Mark 5:5).
When we spend our energy trying to figure out how many men were possessed, we are focusing on the two parts of the story that aren't important—yours and mine. The important truth presented is Jesus' love for the suffering.
He was even compassionate enough to respond to the pleas of a legion of demons.
That's crazy. The villains begged him to cast them into a herd of pigs and he did. But why? He had to know what that would cost the farmers. He could have avoided the crowd's anger by obliterating Satan's minions.
Then again, by asking "why?" what else might I be missing?
A man or possibly two men were possessed with a legion of demons so large they could occupy "about two thousand" pigs. Two thousand hellions who "night and day" sought to destroy a human body and spirit. Nothing in Scripture tells me that demons are redeemable, so Jesus must have had another set of people he was hoping to reach by his action.
Jesus would have wanted the gentile crowd of Gadarenese—who came to see the spectacle—to overcome their fear and celebrate the healing of a broken man. And bigger than that, the people of Decapolis now had an evangelist who proclaimed Jesus long before Paul got there.
This is the power of seeing truth.
I confess, I'm still learning to yield "being right" for what's more important. Too many times in my life, I miss the big miracle. While I'll never know why God didn't inspire an exact retelling of events, or why Jesus responded to the demons' requests, I am willing to shift my focus from what I want to know to what the Almighty wants to tell me.
Let's Look for Truth
29c Breaking the bonds apart, he was driven by the demon into the desert. (Luke 8:29c)
28b exceedingly fierce, so that nobody could pass that way. (Matthew 8:28b)
27b He wore no clothes, and didn’t live in a house, but in the tombs. (Luke 8:27b)
4b Nobody had the strength to tame him. 5 Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5:4b–5)
37c for they were very much afraid. (Luke 8:37c)
All of Your words are truth. Every one of Your righteous ordinances endures forever (Psalm 119:160). If I remain in Your word, then I truly am Your disciple and I will know the truth, and the truth will make me free (John 8:31–32). Help me present myself—approved by God—a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
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