I’m both obsessed and repulsed at the same time. I have to admit it. I watch TV news and listen to news on satellite radio when I’m driving. All of it hinged upon the current political election follies. Yeah, I say “follies” on purpose. I don’t think it’s worth sharing who I am supporting, because at the end of the day I’ll have my opportunity to vote and I’ll make my case to the ballot, which is the only one who cares anyway. LOL
But when I say I’m obsessed and repulsed all at once, what I mean is that I’m intrigued by the political process, particularly in our country … the only truly successful democratic republic on earth, all things considered. But at the same time, what I feel fed up about is the derision, divisiveness, positioning, disrespect, polarization, etc., of the process. In short, the politics of the political process. Frankly, it’s tiring, and I wonder why our leaders can’t ultimately act like leaders? Enough of the rhetorical questions.
What I think is most debasing to me is the inability for the candidates to stick to truth, and for us citizens to be able to discern the truth. Maybe more depressing even than that is that we have come to expect a bit of a truth-phobia from our political leaders. It seems almost like living adjacent to a train track … eventually you hardly hear the trains going by. I fear – and maybe I’m being unduly and uncharacteristically pessimistic – that truth in the political process, like the sound of the trains screaming by, has faded to the background beyond our recognition. If so, what of it? My reading this week through Psalms 64-69 and Proverbs 11 brought to light some ways we as individuals can address this … consider the following passages in Proverbs 11:
The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights. Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people. (vv. 1-3)
The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin. (v. 5)
The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity. (v. 20)
Regardless of what side of the political aisle you’re on, I think we can all degree that politicians these days struggle with the whole concept of things like honesty. Yes, I realize my statement is sweeping and indicts all those associated with a particular “profession” and does so in all likelihood unfairly. But is there any doubt these days either when we listen to the president, the candidates for president, or [name your particular member of congress], that there is an “issue” with the truth? Perhaps it’s just me … I’ll grant you that. To the degree it does exist, then I don’t know about you, but it’s just flat-out debilitating to me. The truth is the truth, last I checked, and anything that is “partially” true is – by definition – NOT true. Yet, truthfulness seems as difficult to find as the so-called “missing link” in evolutionary “science.” (yeah, a topic for another time – haha)
You may ask … okay, Rodriguez, so what? What can we do about it? Glad you asked. Here’s my answer:
Well, sort of. I’m not going to posit in any way that I have the first dang clue on how to help all politicians become ineradicably tied to truthfulness any more than I could help a zebra lose its stripes. Or maybe I can … by suggesting we become tied to the truth ourselves. At the end of the day, neither you nor I can control what a politician does as regards truth … or any other person for that matter. We can, though, control our approach to the truth. And I daresay, all God cares about is how we deal with the truth. If everyone did that, well, you know where I’m going with that. So the key question is, how are we with the truth?
In just a relatively perfunctory search, I came up with over 125 passages in the New Living Translation of the bible referring to the words “honesty,” “liar,” or “lying.” No doubt if a more extensive search were conducted, far, far more would be identified. Therefore, it’s safe to say that God has a lot to say about the truth. John 14:6 says, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Not only is the truth important to Jesus … it is who He is.
The “use of dishonest scales” refers to untruthfulness in business or in the marketplace. How many of us treat our “work ethics” differently than our “home ethics?” Do we cut corners on our taxes (remember, returns are due on April 18 – you can take the boy out of the accounting, but you can’t take the accounting out of the boy)? When the restaurant forgets to charge us for something we ordered, do we let them know? If we’re given too much change when we buy something, do we go back and let the cashier know and return the overage?
In our personal dealings, do we convey the truth in our relationships? Do we treat everyone the same with regard to the truth, those that we’re close with and those we don’t know? Are “little white lies” passed off as harmless? Do we add hours on our time card that we didn’t work, or do we “bunch” our overtime, moving hours from one day to another to get the benefit of double-time?
Honesty is honesty. The truth is the truth. Anything less than “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is NOT the truth. Am I being a bit militant about this? Nah … it’s just straight-out logic. Full isn’t full until it’s full. Whole isn’t whole unless it’s whole. Dark isn’t dark unless it’s dark. Truth isn’t truth unless it’s truth.
There are obviously times when the whole truth isn’t appropriate (see Joshua 2), but those are odd circumstances that are few and far between. We do a disservice to ourselves, to others, and to God if we allow the slippery slope of picking and choosing when the truth is necessary and when it’s not. Trust me … it’s a battle I have more often than I’d care to admit. But as the passages above say, not only is the truth a command of God in all circles of our lives, it’s also the key to wisdom, a fulfilling life, and the delight of our Creator. Let’s ask God in prayer this week to speak to the core of our hearts and equip us to commit to a life of truth, by His grace.
We wouldn’t want our pants to catch fire, would we?
Soli Deo gloria!