There are many reasons to look at the issue of telling the truth. Not only because we have the issue discussed within the Torah (Decalogue specifically – in other words, the Ten Commandments) but also there is something powerful that is communicated to humanity when Jesus Himself declares that He is truth incarnate. IT would seem reasonable to me that IF you were to adhere to the Lordship of Jesus in your life that you would strive to not only LIVE the truth but embody the best of truth telling in your heart and life. There are numerous symbols and metaphors throughout scripture that spell out clearly God’s desire for us to be walking and living in the fullness of truth. Not only does truth-telling build relational trust (“we are only as sick as our secrets”…in other words, lies break down trust because trust defined is “truth in relationship”) but it also is one of the ways that we discern whether or not we are “walking in the light”.
A long time ago, I struggled with truth telling…I had to deal with the reality of the fact that my personality M.O. was driven more by placation than by the truth…it became real to me when my desire to make people happy (especially those closest to me) came at the expense of my integrity in terms of communicating the truth. After a while of struggling with this issue, I had to go to “graduate school” in my heart in an attempt to regain the passion for the truth even if it wasn’t what made people happy with me. Those were tough but liberating days. Why? Because we were designed by God to live in the truth…no shadows…no exaggerations…no fear about being suddenly unmasked as a person who plays loose with reality.
That’s why it is especially distressing to me how far our culture has deteriorated in terms of truth-telling…people are told what the communicator perceives they want to hear…individuals will manipulate the truth in order to gain their will over others or people’s applause. Since it is apparent that people will say just about anything they want and that lying is one of many options that a person will use in their arsenal to imposing their will upon others, we are moving more into cultural meltdown. And, the tragic thing is that it is happening at the highest places of public trust. I don’t know about you but I have gotten to the place where I do not trust anything that a public official has to say. When former President Clinton utilized the infamous “it depends what your definition of is is” argument, there was a line in the sand in truth telling in public that was obliterated. There is such a cynicism about truth telling now that no one knows WHO and WHAT to trust.
That’s why a person who is a follower of Jesus MUST become a ruthless truth teller. It is the ONE WAY that many people can see and experience our dedication not only to the principle of truth but to the person who incarnates truth – Jesus Himself. I’m not going to bore you with proof-texts from scripture about truth telling but, trust me, there are many that span the expanse of the scripture. I would challenge you to look them up yourself…but what I challenge us more to do is to LIVE THE TRUTH! Counter the lies! Live as a subversive…tell the truth!