I am conscious that when we come out with statements like “I am beholden to the Truth” that this could get the backs up of listeners, especially those who disagree, who might reply, “well so am I, what point are you trying to make?” Then there will be others who subscribe to the notion of relativism who will point out that his truth may well be different to other’s truth and who has the right to say which is better? Yet most of us would recognize that in this era of spin, fake news, post truth etc. that facts are what truly matters.
One of the passages from the Bible that excites me about the Christmas season we are about to enter into is from the prologue to John’s gospel, which speaks about the eternal Word (Jesus) of God becoming human flesh, ending with the declaration:
All this got me thinking as once again things are brought up in the media that get me worked up (easy to do) because (or so I tell myself) truth is being distorted and untruth is being promoted. I got to think about principles to live one’s life by and one, surely, is to follow the example of Jesus who came out with phrases like the truth setting us free and baffling Pilate who asked him “what is truth”? One of our challenges if we are into the getting to the truth business is we may only know a fraction of what there is to be known about a given subject and we have been brainwashed from birth when it comes to having a view of the world, and this continues with the Siren voices around us urging us to believe one thing or another. And with so many contrary narratives on all sorts of subjects being put out, it is easy to be despondent. But even so, the challenge has been laid down by the one we are called to follow, who said:
I reckon seeking after and fighting for truth is a lifetime business and there is a price to pay (e.g. the Hebrew prophets often came a cropper when they declared the truth but it was not what the people wanted to hear). It is also a necessary business because knowing and then embracing the truth is something that benefits the recipient and those around him/her, and this can range from what is going on in the world, making sense of the situation we find ourselves and the gospel message concerning Him who is the Truth. It is humbling to find out we may be wrong or ignorant of the facts sometimes and when people oppose us but it is a price worth paying. But if we want to do good in world then being in the Truth business is what we must do, and not forgetting the way we live our lives needs to reflect this. For me, this is my biggest challenge, for who can bear someone who says one thing and does another and why weaken our testimony to what is true? I can easy get complacent because I have the truth and others don’t, but what is the use if I don’t live out that truth? It is would be an insult to the memory of those who died for the truth.
One of the hard lessons of life I have learned is that no-one has the monopoly on the truth. I have found sometimes those from my own Evangelical Christianity and Social Conservative constituencies do not always uphold truth and those outside those constituencies do, but also the importance of maintaining peace irrespective. It seems to me that having realized the paramount importance of truth there are things we should and shouldn’t do. Sometimes we must be wise and not speak truth when people are not ready to receive it or going to twist what you say, and that requires good judgment. Then there is the matter of how we present truth. The Bible teaches us that we need to speak the truth in love, and the one we follow is not only full of truth but full of grace too. More than ever, given all around us we are surrounded by untruths that even the good and great subscribe to, we need those beholden to the truth regardless of the cost.
And while it is good to be reminded that truth is better than error in the same way light is better than and ultimately will overcome darkness, we must be prepared for the consequences due to: