To Love the Truth
Renowned radio Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll tells a story about a 6-year-old boy riding with his mother on a train. During those days, kids traveled with their parents and weren’t charged if the child was 5 or under. Before getting on board, a mother instructed her son to tell the conductor he was 5. Later, the conductor came by and asked, “How old are you, son?” Obedient to his mother’s instructions, the little fellow said, “Ah, 5.” So, there was no charge, the mother paid her fare, the conductor left, and that seemed to be the end of the matter.
However, a couple hours later, the conductor returned to chat with the boy for a minute. He patted the boy’s head and said, “Well, how are you gettin’ along? Are you enjoying the train ride?”
“Yes, sir! I’m having a really good time,” the boy enthusiastically replied. “Really good!” The conductor then said, “Now, let’s see, when are you gonna be 6?” And the little guy answered, “’Bout the time I get off this train.”
There’s no doubt that lying can bring temporary gain, like saving on train fare. “Lying is a thriving vocation,” said Susanna Centlivre, the 18th century English poet and actress. But the price for lying always comes.
This certainly seems to be the case for George Santos, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives during the midterm elections. Various media sources report that, throughout his campaign, Santos lied about his heritage, family, work, and education. Moreover, other serious falsehoods are coming to light. So much is this the case that the Nassau County district attorney’s office says they are investigating Santos’ fabrications, though they haven’t said which lies they’re exploring.
Of course, the new congressman downplays his deceit as simple embellishments. In other words—in his mind—he’s like a fisherman who tells a fish story. He doesn’t grossly exaggerate. He just remembers things bigger!
Then again, the paradox of the media doggedly sniffing out Santos’ deception seems beyond the pale. It’s not that they don’t have a duty to inform the public. They do. It’s just that anyone with any objectivity knows most of the news media is quite selective about whose lies they report on. “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie,” said poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. And the media likes to stay silent on many issues.
But what’s the big deal? We’ve become accustomed to lying. We’ve come to expect it. In our culture, lying is the modus operandi for seemingly almost everything.
Vince Vitale, in Jesus Among Secular Gods, astutely writes:
We’ve become skilled at manipulating the truth. We stretch the truth and bend the truth and twist the truth. When we want something to be false, we knock on wood. When we want something to be true, we cross our fingers.
We make truth claims ‘literal’ when they are metaphorical: ‘I am literally dying for a coffee.’ If we want someone to have confidence that we are actually telling the truth, we need to add a qualifier: ‘in truth’ or ‘truth be told’ or ‘to tell you the truth.’ Even then confidence will be low because truth is not our default setting but merely a special occurrence: the ‘moment of truth.’”
“The truth will set you free,” said Jesus (John 8:32). This is why truthfulness is imperative. Freedom can neither be known nor sustained without a foundation of integrity.
Deceit, like shackles, binds and enslaves with each lie linked to the previous one told. Only the truth can liberate us. The Bible says that, in the last days, evil will rise and deceive the masses, leading them to ruin “because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
Jesus said he was “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, emphasis added). Christ is the very personification of truth. He is the living Truth.
“In a secular age where God is increasingly deemed irrelevant to truth, we fear the truth and we abuse the truth,” writes Vitale. “But because of Jesus, we never need to doubt whether truth is on our side; we never need to doubt whether the truth loves us. Let us be lovers of the Truth, because the Truth loves us.”
There is no greater incentive to live in the truth, to tell the truth, and to love the truth than to know the Truth loves us.
Image credit: YouTube-Brut America