Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Psalm 34:11-22 and Revelation 14:12-20.
Psalm 34:12-13 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. (NIV)
Someone recently said that ‘Truth is not truth,’ which although it sounds totally absurd, it is actually a reflection of the times we live in. We all operate with our own perceptions of what is real and we color truth with what we want to believe. For instance, if you have two people standing at opposite ends of a chalk drawing of the number nine, one will declare it to be “9” while the other person sees it only as “6.” Both believe their perception to be absolutely correct and from where they are standing, both declarations are true. So long as both of them stay where they are, they will not even consider the other person’s viewpoint, even though it is just as valid. Only when one or both of them decide to look at things from the other side will they see the unbelievable truth: both of them are correct!
Truth is something that is sacred in the eyes of God and, in the end, it is His perception that decides what is absolutely and eternally true. We may think differently from Him because God gives us the gift of free will, so we seem to believe that our experience in life is what really counts. However, our time on Earth is so short compared to God’s immortality. We last for only a moment, so how can we finitely contend against what God knows to be eternally true?
To deliberately go against the truth is to live a lie and the Bible constantly tells us that lying is not good for our health, our souls, our community, and our faith. This is different from perception – a lie is something that is deliberately told to destroy the truth. For instance, if a third person comes up to the two others who are arguing over the 9 or 6 and stridently says that the number is actually ‘3,’ that would be a falsehood. If that person kept declaring it to be ‘3’ loudly and long enough to confuse the other two until they accepted his word, then all of them would be accepting a lie. In the 20th century, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot used this technique and brutally bullied their people into accepting lies which consequently caused the deaths of millions of people across the world. Liars make the worst kind of leaders because eventually they destroy themselves and the people perish under their control.
As Christians, we are meant to be religious people who side with the Truth and contend against lies, especially when falsehoods disrupt, diminish, and destroy our communities. If we, of all people, accept and spread lies, then we are no longer servants of Christ – the Way, the Truth, and the Life – but have sadly become purveyors of our own prejudices and traders in untruth.
Point to ponder: How do I discern the truth? Am I guilty of passing on lies?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the gift of discernment so that we may honor You by seeking, knowing, and advancing the truth. Teach us that lies destroy our humanity and falsehoods can even wreck our faith. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.