When the truth is hard to come by

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And the stories they tell, you can’t tell

If they’re true or they’re fable.

                        from “Johnny’s Cafe” by John Fischer

In an era of fake news, truth is becoming more and more of a rare commodity. Politicians are especially susceptible to fable-telling. We expect them to be manipulating facts to where the results are always in their favor. November elections are coming up. Here in California, there are numerous ads on billboards and on television that urge a yes or a no vote on various propositions. Each side sounds convincing, but, of course, neither is telling you the whole truth, and it becomes almost impossible to sort it out. They will mix up any number of truths, half-truths and untruths until they get what they want and then put it out there as truth. Even the voter’s guide can’t be fully trusted. Politicians twist the truth and the news media calls it “spin.” And now we are awaiting an investigation into the former conduct of a Supreme Court nominee that most likely will not get beyond the “he said/she said” gridlock. Our current culture is experiencing a crisis in truth the likes of which I haven’t seen in my lifetime.

However, one paragraph of finger-pointing is enough without mentioning that I am particularly vulnerable to the same kind of manipulation of the truth I see all around me. Too often I say I’m going to do things that I don’t do. And not only do I not do them, I say I’m going to do them when I have no intention of following through. I say I’m going to do such and such, but I know something will come up to prevent it and I intend to let it do just that. What’s that if it isn’t an intentional lie? This is not good.

I have to do something about this. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean I can. Jesus called the devil the father of lies (John 8:44), so that when we lie, we are playing into his hand. We are acting like a child of the devil. Is that what I want to be?

This is not only important because it is the right thing to do, it is important that we as followers of Christ uphold a different standard at home, in our communities and in the marketplace. Out in the world is where truth-telling will make a big difference and might even give opportunity for the gospel.

But be careful not to take a legalistic attitude about this. Don’t tell the truth to please God or because He requires it; tell the truth because you are following Jesus and He is the way, the truth and the life.

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10 Responses to When the truth is hard to come by

  1. Mark says:

    Thanks for the Truth about the Truth.
    An observation I have made about being committed to always telling the truth. If you know that you are committed to that, it becomes a strong incentive to you doing the right thing in the first place. Thus, not leaving yourself in a position that you find the need to cover for yourself by lying.

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    It’s the listeners who enable the liars because they want to have their ears tickled. People will believe any story which attacks the other side because it supports their own. It might be just as hard to hear the truth as it is to speak it. Christians are far from immune from this because we want to believe anything supportive of Christianity even if it is an attack on others. This amounts to believing fake news.

    We need to always speak the truth even when it does not reflect well on ourselves and we must pray to hear and accept the truth even when it is not what we wanted to hear.

  3. Mark D Seguin says:

    Love this from Today’s Catch: “…tell the truth because you are following Jesus and He is the way, the truth and the life.”

  4. Marc says:

    Truth is always important in these times. Every election I remember Psalm 146 which says “Do not trust in princes…Trust in the Lord. He is the truth.

  5. I know it’s mostly semantics, John, but when you say, “Our current culture is experiencing a crisis in truth the likes of which I haven’t seen in my lifetime”, instead of the word “seen”, I believe you’re really saying “observed” or “perceived”.
    And, I believe you’re accurately speaking for the majority of us alive today.

    However, the falsehoods, the various spins, and their harmful ramifications have always been around and (I think) were sometimes even more severe and harmful than today.
    The king of lies has always been in the business of deception and manipulation, but now is probably at his most gleeful time ever with so many sources of “news”, “information”, “misinformation”, and gossip available to a gullible and receptive audience worldwide 24/7.

    Some 2000 years ago, even though he saw and heard, Pilate literally couldn’t perceive the Truth standing right in front of him… but at least he asked aloud, “What is Truth?”
    (I would like to believe his question was answered later on in his lifetime).

    Today, though, many of us simply pick our own truth from the trees of social media, news outlets, political entities, or whatever other sources tickle our fancy.
    Actual thinking anymore seems to be too laborious and disciplined.
    Genuine wisdom is being replaced by mindless palaver.
    True discernment is quickly becoming a lost art.

    When was the last time any of us asked both ourselves and our God,
    “What is Truth?”

    Psalm 1
    Proverb 9:10
    James 3:13

  6. peter leenheer says:

    This may sound a bit extreme but it works for me. Recently I stopped watching, reading and being involved in the news because it seems to be 95% (a perceived percentage) negative. Strangely enough other people inform me about what is happening in the world, and I am up to date anyway. When I watch, read and interact with the news it makes me negative, riles up my temper, and I begin to gossip. Most news comes from so distant a source that I cannot verify its truth. So why bother commenting on it. I cannot do anything about it. So I pray about it, ‘That His Will be done’ and ‘that the truth may come out and prevail’. You know that is working pretty well for me so far.

    Pilate said, ‘What is truth?’ (as quoted above), but found it too evasive to pin down. So I go where the news doesn’t go, God’s Word. That is the source of all real Truth.

    Thank you John for this poignant Catch.

  7. Alma Siemens says:

    Point well taken. I want to tell the truth to others and also to myself.

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