EXPOSING TRUTH IS DIFFICULT
Jesus told His followers, “If you obey my teaching, you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn.8: 32). “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn.14: 6).
Jesus spoke these words to people that had obliterated the truth. Even Pilate, the Roman Governor, no longer knew what it was (Jn.18: 38). Long before Jesus, Amos said, “You hate the one who reproves in court and despises him who tells the truth” (5: 10). My face was badly burned in an accident. For months, the nurses kept me from looking into a mirror and comforted me with little white lies. One lady that knew me before the accident was shocked when she visited me and I wished she had not come. After several months, one nurse felt that I was strong enough to see myself. Then, I too was shocked. Slowly, I adjusted to the truth and I too was set free. Suppose, I would have hid from public life and continued to live a lie, what would I have become?
In the pastoral ministry, I found that exposing truth was very difficult. Even in my sermons I had to circumvent. Many times, I had to make myself at home in some one’s backyard, before I could come through the front door. It was a white lie, but it got me inside. To my chagrin, I would not obtain a simple yes or no but, “Let me pray about it.” Both, my intentions and their answers were small lies. Some remained silent and silence is no defender of the truth. This tendency is a handy tool for all of us. We live in a society that encourages smart talk, which is another term for a white lie. Lies have always been more convenient than truth. When we repeat a lie often and long enough it becomes truth for us. A very small lie can become costly and fatal. Jesus held that lies were demonic because they distorted the truth (Jn.8: 44). In His case, the leaders looked for liars to dispose of Him (Mk.14: 57-59).
Two thousand years later, lies have been legalized and Jesus’ teaching stands in their way. Particularly, powerful leaders sit at the same table and lie to each other (Dan.11: 27). That is why so many cannot face Jesus. Jesus is like a mirror. When we look at Him, we are horrified to see how lies and sin have scared us. The truth is not about God or the physical world but about us humans. Lies tell us that we are fine. The truth shows us how depraved we are. The Apostle John left us this analysis that fits us like a glove (I Jn.1: 8,10). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” The Apostle Paul penned these timeless words, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Ro.1: 25).
Jesus went one step further. The truth is essential to make it into His kingdom, but also in this world. He represented the truth in person and so must every one of us. It is the truth that has access to God and to each other (Jn.14: 6). We have been led to believe that Jesus can cover our lies and get us into heaven. How can He free us if we do not admit that we have lied? It is when we confess our sins then He is faithful and just and will for give us (I Jn.1: 9). In fact, we must confess to each other if we have lied about each other (Ja.5: 16). The truth has to live in us to become the truth. The truth demands that we forgive each other before Jesus or God can forgive us (Mt.6: 14-15). The truth demands that we come to an agreement before we face a judge. The truth must come out before there can be a settlement. And settlements are very costly (Mt.5: 23-26).
It is hard to live within the truth. Pilate knew that he was not living within the truth when the Jewish leaders condemned an innocent man and demanded to free a criminal. We have the same problem. The innocent, under our system, must protect the criminals. We seem to like people that spin lies. Our comedians specialize in lies. Our politicians, they deserve an Oscar for telling us that we are the richest nation in the world when we are about to be auctioned off to China or Arabia. We have reached such a critical point that those who know the truth are afraid to tell it. The few that do are regarded as liars. The economy is a problem, but falling into the hands of those that hate us is a far bigger one. And that truth is being hidden from us. Telling the truth is dangerous.