Truth is a theme that's been cropping up for me quite a bit lately.
- I have a child at that developmental stage where the necessity of trying to sort out truth claims from convenient lies is an all too often occurence in our household.
- I have another child who should be beyond that developmental stage and yet, when telling a lie is easier in the short run, the truth seems to lose out way too easily.
- During Lent, one of the Biblical texts at the forefront of Holy Week relates the question that Pontius Pilate poses to Jesus as he is about to condemn him at the urgining of the gathered public is "What is truth?" (John 18:38)
- My denomination - the Episcopal Church - has been wrestling with coming to an understanding of what truth is in regard to the Bible, our holy scriptures. (Read this article by a colleague regarding truth.)
- Today I was listening to a story on the radio about the writ of habeas corpus and how that most basic component of democracy is being abused by our president and the truth of stories of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is the victim.
- The Dean of Admissions at MIT had to resign amidst the scandal that she had lied about her credentials over 25 years ago and "never had the courage" to correct that misleading information on her resume.
- Earlier this week there was another story - that of football player/soldier Pat Tillman and soldier Jessica Lynch whose true war stories were intentionally changed into more palatable lies by Pentagon officials to distract from the Abut Ghraib prison scandal and to garner greater public support for the war.
Local Congressional Representative Tom Davis seemed to sum up the situation best with his rhetorical question to the congressional panel investigating these blatant incidents of twisting Truth when he asked, "If the first casualty of war is the truth, what happens when the wound is self-inflicted?"
Unfortunately, this is a wound that is self-inflicted more often than not. How many times do we lie about circumstances in order to make an easier path for ourselves and end up with a much worse scenario than if we had just confronted the more difficult truth?
It seems to me that lies serve to keep us stuck where we are when we should be moving forward. The truth that is deflected is usually the truth that we need to prod us into confronting something within ourselves that needs to be transformed, that needs to be changed. In fact, the Psalms tell us that when lies come from us then our throats are like an open grave. Lies can be deadly - for the spirit, for our reputation, for our relationships.
Jesus said "know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
Lies bind us to the worst parts of ourselves and our stories while truth - even painful truth - sets us free to explore new territory - to grow and to become more of who God has created us to be.
So what is truth? Truth is the food that fuels new growth, that challenges our assumptions, that so often forces us to think outside the box. Truth is the tool that cuts the shackles and cuts us loose. Truth is the way to freedom and peace. Truth is God's way - often tough and demanding, but always ultimately the better path.
What do you say truth is? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts...