Our nation is in a political crisis and tug-of-war. We are just a few weeks from the midterm elections and both sides are hoping to dominate the field. The politicians are talking; the media is talking; the patrons at the local watering hole are talking. There is no lack of rhetoric. Opinions flourish like dandelions in our yard during the hot days of summer. Feelings are attached to most points of view, and emotions drive many conversations. I find myself turning on the news and reading daily web posts just trying to ascertain facts. Ah – there is the issue. What is the truth?
This week I was listening to an exchange between the press secretary and a national reporter. The reporter was quizzing the narrator about a date. The respondent was notably reticent to give that information, so she was dodging the specifics. The reporter pressed the issue; the press secretary evaded the point. Back and forth went the tug-of-war. Ultimately, no facts were given.
At the same time that I was listening to the diatribe, my mind pulled up a memory of raising my children. I did not recall a specific event; I recalled a recurring scenario. It was the ‘who done it’ archetype of sibling interaction. As a parent, I was on the quest of truth. As a child, my son or daughter was on the mission to circumvent the truth. I was confident that truth would release justice; they were fearful that truth would release justice. The only point upon which we could easily agree was that truth is intrinsically tied to justice.
Truth is the basis for all forward movement in life’s endeavors. Truth is a key component in scientific discoveries, relational stability, and social structures. Postulated theories are tested in scientific laboratories to discover whether or not they are true. Philosophies are tried out in the laboratory of humanity’s social order to reveal their viability. Over time, error is revealed and reality stands. Unreliable and inaccurate information is unprofitable and unsustainable in the arena of human experience.
The primary health of our society is intrinsically tied to truth. Knowledge is imparted by facts. Ignorance is overcome and lies are combatted by truth. It does not bow under the influence of the powerful not betray the needs of the weak. Proverbs instructs us to search out knowledge and understanding (Pr. 2:3), and quantifies these commodities as more valuable than gold and jewels (Pr. 8:10; 20:15). Though not costless to unearth, truth supplies the culture with immeasurable worth. At every level of our existence, we have the commission, responsibility, and honor to communicate truth to the world around us.
Early in the biblical narrative, the reader is exposed to a conversation between the serpent and the first woman. Eve received a report from the serpent, which included misrepresented facts on the nature of God, herself, her present situation, and her future. Assuming that the father of lies had information on par with the Father of Light, she made her decision based upon the Devil’s spin (Gen. 3:1-7). Building her life and earthly culture from lies had disastrous results. Jesus warned that a house built on the sand of falsehood would fall into ruins (Mt. 7:26). Having forsaken the Author of Truth, Adam and Eve placed man upon a quest of the knowledge of truth.
Even today, that quest continues. Truth must be revealed in the family house, in the court house, and in the White House. Over 2500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah released a plea in the form of an edit to the nation of Israel, “Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the street, and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.” (Is. 59:14-15, NIV) Isaiah spoke this lamentation at a time when Israel was standing on the cusp of God’s justice.
My prayer is that our nation, its citizens, and its leaders will not allow truth to be discarded into the street as though it is refuse. My children had to learn the lesson that hiding the truth does not circumvent justice. May our nation recall this pedagogic reality and once again elevate truth as our guiding light for justice.