John 8:12 – 20
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.”
These words of Jesus from today’s lectionary reading really got me thinking about self-knowledge, judgment, and validation.
When I came out publicly as gay, I was also announcing my intentions to marry my roommate and best friend, Danice, and I knew this double-whammy would be difficult for some folks in my life to accept. I had been a lifelong people-pleaser, so it scared me to know that I was going public with something that would earn the disappoval of many people whose opinions mattered to me. Despite all the years of reading and study I’d done, I knew I didn’t have airtight theology, or answers to every question that people would ask me – I knew (and still know) that I could be wrong in my affirming views. What I had to lean on was primarily my best discernment, and my story, and I could anticipate people saying, “your testimony is not valid,” m