Truth can be such an inconvenient thing. It certainly has been in my life, especially when I have avoided it or sought to manipulate it into something that is not true. James wrote concerning a mouth that both blesses and curses that “these things should not be so.” (James 3) This certainly should be the same thought we have when it comes to recognizing and addressing truth. As a child of God our dependence upon God should be what defines our life not some fear over whether we are hearing something that is damaging to our world or situation.
The bearer of truth doesn’t impact whether something is true or not
Some have sought to discredit truth because of those who present it. Such is the case in the argument between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney on the issue of releasing tax records. The truth in this situation is that Romney himself once admonished an opponent for doing what he has done now. Certainly Mr. Romney has the discretion to do as he wills but the truth is that he is withholding information that he once accused an opponent of withholding. Truth does not choose whom its advocate is based on that person’s inherent ability or goodness.
When Pharaoh sat on his throne distressed over his two awful dreams he was told of one who could help him, Joseph, by his chief butler. Let’s remind ourselves of who this chief butler was prior to his assuring Pharaoh that he knew someone who could help him. He had been placed in prison by the same Pharaoh with death by execution likely in his future. He had been freed after being told by Joseph that such would happen to him and yet for two years he never mentioned the name of the Hebrew slave who had foretold his release. However, he was the bearer of the good news that brought Joseph to the attention of Pharaoh.
While I don’t know the significance of Mr. Romney releasing his tax records I am confident that Mr. Obama and his campaign, based on Mr. Romney’s previous actions, have the right to request such information. Mr. Romney is certainly able to withhold that information if he so desires. Certainly Mr. Obama has an agenda; however that should not detract from the truth – Mr. Romney once demanded the same information. We cannot make our decisions concerning what is true or not based on the fact that those presenting the information may have an agenda of some sort. Yes, this behavior may be repulsive or seem self-serving, as may have been the case of Pharaoh’s butler, but the truth should not be something that we seek to escape.
The means of the revelation of truth doesn’t impact whether something is true or not
Recently, inWareCounty, a murder was solved that was over 20 years old. In fact, while a murder was presumed, it had never been confirmed because a body was never recovered. The man who is accused of murder, Craig Thrift, had become drunk and spoke to others, confessing that he had murdered the missing man, Terry Rouse.
Not once did any of the Law Enforcement Officers mention that they were unwilling to act based upon the fact that the individual who confessed to the murder was completely inebriated at the time. Yet in churches I have heard pastors and other leader’s whisper that they wouldn’t listen to reported truths because they had been received in a way that those receiving it had deemed illicit in some way. I’m certainly not saying that one should go seeking to pry gossip from others but that if we are presented with a truth from someone that repulses us we should still examine whether the information being presented is the truth.
In writing to Timothy (1Timothy 5) Paul does give instruction for how one should receive criticism from within the church. What the Apostle is not doing is removing the elder from any reproach, nor is he so restricting the report so that only those reports that fit the agenda of the leaders can be received. In my research on by-laws for our church I ran across numerous documents, adopted by churches, which seemed to completely absolve the leadership of the church of any wrongdoing prior to any wrongdoing being accused. If we do not recognize the leadership of our church as having the same ability to make mistakes and distort facts as those attending then we are headed for disaster.
In fact, it was just such behavior that led God to prevent Moses from entering the Promised Land. Moses had been specially blessed and led by God. He had been permitted to see God’s glory and yet he chose to act in a self-serving way and God punished him by refusing to allow him into the Promised Land. Later God buried him so that the Israelites wouldn’t worship him. This shows that God understands man’s desire to propagate their own idols and gods.
Folks, if the alcoholic on the side of the street tells you the bridge is out you may question his ability to determine such a thing. You may even doubt the veracity of his report or the sanity of his mind. You would be a fool though if you did not at least examine the bridge in question before proceeding on your way.
Unfortunately the church has deemed in to many instances that those in the church are the final authority on truth and have taken the approach of the monkeys; hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. The case of the gentleman in Arizona, who was supposedly arrested for holding a Bible study in his home, comes to mind. People have taken up the rallying cry for this man in a way that absolutely disgusts me as it shows there is little desire for truth, rather that our ideals be exalted, from many within the church. (http://sbcplodder.blogspot.com/2012/07/dont-get-suckered-by-pastor-jailed-for.html)
The facts of truth should be just that, facts
One of my brothers once jumped from the roof of our house holding a blue tarp as a parachute. He did so just as my mother stepped inside our room looking for him. He performed the act in front of our bedroom window so that we could see his bravado. It worked. We saw, we were amazed. Mom saw, she went for a switch.
It is amazing how often the facts are overlooked when it comes to the issue of truth. This one thing is what brought about this outpouring of though today. I was watching a special on CNBC’s show, American Greed, detailing a pyramid scheme fostered and perpetrated by “pastors.” These men defrauded thousands of people out of millions of dollars, proclaiming that God would “bless” these individuals for their faithfulness to Him them.
I was amazed as I watched the show that not one of the individuals who had given their money to these men seemed really interested in the facts. The only fact that they would state without some sort of caveat was that they had given the men and their ministry organization, a certain amount of money. This became so obvious to me that I pointed it out to my 15yo daughter to see what her response was.
The two of us came to the conclusion that these people were unwilling to accept all of the facts; these men were never truly Biblical in their teachings, this was a profit venture on the individual “investors” part and not ministry as some sought to claim, the men who perpetuated this fraud were out and out liars.
Do you see why they would not accept the facts? They would have had to particularly study the Bible concerning the issue of giving, and God’s blessings, instead of hearing what they wanted to hear and acting on what they already wanted to hear. They would have had to agree that while they said they were giving money to God’s Word they were really seeking personal gain and not godly gain. They would have had to acknowledge that someone who had at one time brought them such material hope disguised as spiritual truth had completely lied to them. They had been snookered, completely.
Their behavior was probably an embarrassment to them but instead of acknowledging their foolishness and selfishness they chose to ignore it and instead used “Christian” code words like “faith” and “hope” to describe their behavior then and now. Excuse me, you cannot choose to accept some truth that is favorable to you and reject the truth that is not favorable to you. Unfortunately I believe that were these folks to once again have pockets full of money that they would be ripe for the plucking again.
This final thought leads me to the story of Jesus as he stood before Pilate. I believe that all would agree that Pilate was an afflicted man as he sought to make a decision concerning Jesus. You can read the accounts of what I mention here in John 18-19, and Matthew 26. Pilate’s final decision, to act according to what seemed to best suit him, is unfortunately what many of us choose on a daily basis. However, due to his transparency at times, we see the absolute inconsistencies in his behavior.
He’s innocent. I find nothing wrong with this man.
What is truth? (directed at Jesus)
I have the power to destroy you
I am innocent of the blood of this man
Pilate seemed to accept some truth but chose to reject it all in favor of preserving himself – he thought. May our behavior reflect a trust in God that allows us to accept truth, no matter how difficult, when it comes our way.