Friday, July 28, 2006

About Truth

As a minister, it is part of my job to listen. So, I listen to a lot of things, and I must say what I hear can be confusing. In politics, I hear from one group that our nation's president is a wonderful leader. But, with the turn of a channel, I hear that his presidency is a sham and that the man is a liar. If I listen to the happenings of state and local issues, I can hear that a certain social suggestion is a horrible idea from one group of people while another will sing of its virtues. My own household does the same. I could have a simple incident between two of my children and if so, I will have two different versions of the truth about that incident. The church is not immured from such vacillations. The pastor can preach from the Word of God on an issue, and while most in the congregation will agree with the message, there will still be others who would say, "I just don't see it that way."
The oldest piece of New Testament manuscript (about the size of a mans hand) has one statement written on it in ancient Greek.. ."What is truth?" This is the question that was asked by Pilate in the Passion story of Christ. It is still a relevant question today.
What is truth? It seems to me that truth is tenacious, unyielding. Truth is unchanging. Truth is a rock! It is more than a sure bet. It is firmer than any foundation. And, when everything else fails to exist, the truth will still remain.. .unchanged.
I listened to an interview of a popular celebrity. He was telling of his desire to speak to others of his race and tell them to "...change their ways..." or their lives will be in ruin. The interviewer reminded the celebrity of his improprieties, shortcomings and sinfulness. Then she asked the aged, and famous man, "Why should people listen to you?" He responded with an analogy that I have never forgotten. He said, "Let's say on a dark and rainy night, you and I were driving separately out on a road that had a bridge over it. I went to cross that bridge first, but the rain had washed out the bridge. I climb out of the wreckage, battered, bruised, clothes torn, soaking wet, and start back down the road to warn others about the danger. You come along and see me waving my arms, and hear me shouting, 'the bridge is out'. You look at me and the way I am, a real mess, and decide to proceed. Just because of the way 'I am" doesn't change the truth about the peril that lies ahead.
WOW! I thought that was an excellent description for truth. But still, even with truth being such a constant, there are so many variations of the truth. I have discovered that the problem isn't with the truth. The problem is with our handling of the truth.

With our God given ability to rationalize, we can twist the truth. With our natural, self-centered nature, we can bend the truth. With our sinful, deviant behavior, we can seem to make the truth disappear. However, the twisting, bending and disappearing are only an illusion. The truth is still the truth no matter what you do to it.
Our society in America is on a great slide downward when it comes to truthfulness. I believe it is due to the way we handle the truth. Our national politics would be respected more if the political leaders would quite bending the truth for their self-centered interests. Our communities would be whole and undivided if civic leaders would quite twisting the truth about social agenda's and rationalizing why they do it. There would be more love in my household if the deviant behavior would disappear instead of the truth. Our character is no better than the way we handle the truth. Because even if you show only half of a truth when you handle the truth, that's a half-truth, and everybody knows that a half-truth is a lie.