I was recently spending time on my phone deleting thousands of old emails. Every time I turned on my phone, I was faced with a photo I had placed there which said “Destroy nothing.” I caught the irony.
But it made me think about the importance of speaking truth, of speaking and acting the same way.
Speaking truth, or accepting truth, seem to be problems in today's world.
When I was a kid my mother and I listened to talk radio. One evening one of the hosts referred to "facts of misunderstanding." It is a phrase which has stuck with me.
With facts of misunderstanding, a person can have all of the facts in front of them, but because of personal agendas, because of religious beliefs, because of political feelings, because of a host of reasons, those facts can be interpreted in ways other than truthfully.
Today I think these are called alternative facts. But it's not the facts that are alternative, it's the understanding of the truth that's alternative.
We know people with hidden agendas, those who will say one thing and do another thing, frequently to achieve a third thing which is what they really want. These are people we quickly learn to distrust.
Some of us are fortunate to know people who speak and act honestly and truthfully. These are people we trust and respect.
In our Wednesday Bible study we've been working our way through the Old Testament books. One thing that is clear is that God always spoke truth. God promised Abraham countless descendants, and abundant land. And if the people had only followed instructions our world would be in a different place. But Adam and Eve chose to listen to the temptations of a serpent rather than the instructions of God, and they were banished from Eden. Military leaders went into battle out of ego rather than God's command, and thousands upon thousands died.
But those who listened to God's truth, and accepted it as truth, succeeded. Joseph prospered even in slavery. David and Solomon are still revered as successful leaders. Moses and Aaron accepted amazing truths from God in order to lead people to freedom.
So, what is truth?
That's what Pilate asks after Jesus tells him: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37-39)
As people of faith, we believe that God is truth. That God speaks truth. That God upholds truth and has no hidden agendas. That Christ came to testify and to show us the truth.
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”
His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:25-33)
- Ann Warner