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.