John 18:37-38 (NLT) 37) … Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” 38) “What is truth?” Pilate asked.
Where do you get your information? Is it from local or major network news, talk radio, the internet, or the daily newspaper. (Remember those?) Or maybe you just get your information from others. You let them invest the time and wait for their summary.
Can you rely on what you hear? You may not be getting all the facts or you may be getting one person’s interpretation that does not tell the whole story. Have you ever become outraged at some particular information you received only to be embarrassed when you find out it didn’t happen exactly the way it was reported? Our understanding sometimes changes when we hear the rest of the story in proper context.
Everyone sees the world through their own set of lenses. Like the mirrors in a fun house distort what we see, our history, experiences, passions and emotions can distort what we hear. In some instances ‘truth’ is personal. What is true for one may not be true for another. ‘Truth’ is sometimes clearly understood by a careful review of the facts. In other cases, however, the facts alone may not reveal the truth. Discovering the truth may involve understanding facts in context.
At times, we simply don’t want to accept the truth. Maybe we, (to quote Jack Nicholson) ‘can’t handle the truth!’ We should, however, make it our goal to always seek it because, when it comes to the bottom line – the truth matters.
Sometimes the truth does hurt and it is painful to accept. But truth and honesty are necessary in both our personal relationships as well as our professional ones. It is critical to good governance that our elected officials are people of integrity. When we collect information about the world around us we need to be certain our sources are reliable. Are we making sure we hear ‘the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’
How do we discern truth? We ask for wisdom and yield to it.
How do we tell someone the truth when we know the truth will be painful to hear? We speak the truth in love. We consider our words and we ask ourselves are my words true, are they necessary, and are they edifying. In life and in government I believe in the ‘need to know’ philosophy. Every detail of every incident need not be revealed if it is of no benefit. In certain instances, the whole ugly truth can disrupt lives or business operations, cause excess stress, unnecessary pain, and at times even put someone in danger – for no good reason. We must decide if the truth is necessary and if it serves a purpose.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
There are many institutions and individuals whose duty it is to discover the truth, from detectives to private investigators, select committees to courts of law. In spite of this, the truth can still successfully be denied, avoided, covered up and distorted. God, however, knows the truth in every heart, the whole truth …and He knows the lies.
He loves us anyway. When we confess our own ugly truth to Him and repent, He is faithful to forgive, and forget. Our sins break His heart. Our confessions bring Him joy. Confessing our truth to God is necessary and it is edifying.
In this world, truth and integrity are important. Lies and corruption break trust and damage relationships. But above all else, the truth about where we will spend eternity should be of the utmost importance. Confessing our sin and accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation frees us of our burdens and brings us closer to God.
John 14:6-7 (NLT) 6) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7) If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”