June 26, 2006
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. [John 8:32 KJV]
Quotes about the truth abound. Hard truths. The truth, we are told, sometimes hurts.
Hurt though it may, we are challenged. If the shoe fits, wear it. Hard truths become real in a concrete picture. Truth is pinching toes and chafing heels. Here it is. Truth. Now, wear it, we are told, like it or not.
All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth. [Mohandas Gandhi]
The world proclaims truth. Yet we chafe against the chafing shoe. Modern discourse is never so painful as when the truth is at stake. Truth is valued today…but…only so far as truth allows us to feel good about ourselves.
Modern discourse is all about being “nice.” We have given way to political correctness. Truth is now an enemy at any point where it hurts someone’s feelings, where the toes are pinched and the heel hurts.
We are enjoined at every turn to show tolerance. In essence, we are told we must not make any statement that hurts someone’s feelings. If truth must be sacrificed in the process, then, so be it. This is modern wisdom.
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell….The object of the superior man is truth. [Confucius]
The unfortunate and unexpected consequence of our failure to defend truth today is our inability to sustain love. We have lost sight of the benefits of hard truth. The truth that pinches our toes and chafes our heels is a saving truth. It warns us of oncoming blisters, of ill-fitting beliefs that will eventually harm us if left unchallenged and untreated.
Truth is the foundation of a life of love. It is the essential component of love…hard truth, truth holding us accountable, marking the points in life where we have erred, and sparking the corrections needed through a repentant heart forgiven in love.
We must not regard with contempt the rebuke of a just man, for such a rebuke is the destruction of sin and a healing for the heart, as well as a path for God to the soul. [Bernard of Clairvaux]
It is no mistake that Satan is described as the Master of Deceit. Lies are the beginning of death. They are the curtain that covers a truth we need for survival, a disguise that reassures us, that makes us feel good.
Removing truth from our popular culture is like washing the blood from a wound without applying stitches to close the gash. In a topsy-turvy world, where nice is more important than truth, we have declared moral surgeons evil and cling to people who would have us believe we are no longer bleeding.
He who corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. [Prov 9:7 RSV]
Sacrificing truth destroys love. It allows us to be “nice.” But “being nice” at the expense of being truthful is not an act of love. Instead, it is a selfish act rewarded by approval from those we excuse. We purchase friendships and loyalty by blinking at lies and deceit.
When we reject truth in an effort to be “nice” we have violated the first requirement of love. By rejecting the existence of an eternal truth that requires discernment and obedience, we are denying those we care about the fruits of love that flow from truth.
A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. [Prov 17:10 RSV]
Truth conveyed by those who love me, is the kindness that keeps me from falling from the precipice of self-conceit. It allows me a course-correction. It is a gift of love risked by a true friend who is willing to suffer for my sake.
And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. [Mat 22:16 RSV]
Just as world faiths have something in common in their search for truth, they are unified in their definition of love. God is love.
Christ was defined as The Truth and The Way. As God’s saving gift of love given to mankind, Christ personified love. He is the perfect union of truth and love, fully necessary to save us from ourselves.
The lies that tickle our ears may make us feel good for today. But in denying truth, we sell short the future for our children. A society that sacrifices truth for the sake of love paves the road to death.
Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them. –Joseph Story
Joseph Story was an Associate Justice on the U.S. SUPREME COURT. Justice Story delivered the majority opinion freeing the Amistad captives in March 1841.
February 27, 2006 – The Science of Wisdom
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