How do we know that we know someone?

John 8:21-30. I belong to what is above

In a sense, we can never fully know someone. Come to think of it, fully knowing one’s self is already a task of a lifetime, what more of others? We only have traces, impressions, and memories as means for us approximate who the other is. We can never have full access to another’s thoughts and feelings.

We can only know another through authentic shared moments, that is, events where no one is inauthentic or merely projecting an impression. There needs to be dialogue and exchange. In this sense, we better know another because we somewhat begin to contribute a bit of ourselves to the other’s identity. We can know a bit of each other through each other’s vulnerability.

In a sense, a rational way of knowing a person will always be incomplete. This is where faith and faithfulness come in. As we share a piece of ourselves with another, we try to be transparent and authentic to each other. We direct ourselves yet entangle ourselves with how others expect us to behave; and this dance is both reason and faith harmonizing with each other. We think that we know, we have faith that we know, and we iteratively correct what we know.

Thus, to have faith in God means to seek Him and trust that He will reveal Himself somehow in unexpected ways. The formulas and traditions provide some guide, but ultimately, a personal faith requires a personal encounter in a personal context.


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