The most extinct commodity on the earth today is truth. Manipulation of truth for gain in such a common occurrence that it has been accepted as a normal function of our daily lives. Society has found truth to be an unnecessary roadblock to accomplishment and pleasure in todayís fast paced environment. Governments now spend more time trying to get out from under the truth than living in the truth. Businessís only goal is the profit line, not how it is derived. Everyday people are afraid of going against political correctness whether right or wrong, never challenging its truths only bowing to its terms less one be labeled a bigot. Churches have reacted to all of societyís pressures as they grow and soon societyís values creep into the church itself. Families are on the go so much their values become flexible depending on where they are or who they are with. Individuals are so busy trying to keep their heads above water, with all the demands placed on them, that they flow along using societyís truths without ever really considering the meaning or consequences of them. Society is also running away from any discipline of truth. The intellectual establishment is trying to redefine truth as floating, being relative to how one perceives it. Activists go one step farther and believe the goals of their ideology and its gain outweigh the need for the truth. Manipulation of the truth for gain is now a respected and highly paid professional. Today the following degrees are in high demand. A B.S. which initials signify a beginning shoveler who can cover the truth with enough manure to hide it. An M.S. is a master shoveler who has the ability to get an extra layer over the truth. And the most sought after he has a Ph.D. which means one can pile it higher and deeper so hip boots are required. The only sovereign authority that demands total honesty and truth is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus would have us tell the real truth, the real intent in our heart, not meaningless words that we mutter for gain. Jesus told us the truth will set you free. Free from our greatest adversary, Satan himself. Could you imagine what the world would be like today if we followed our Lordís command and always told the truth?
A business sector where:
-A used car salesmen was honest with you about the condition of his cars.
-An attorney was more worried about solving the problem than in financial gain or a winning reputation.
-A company tells all the truth about the effects of its products and how safe they are.
-A businessman loses a sale because he knows there is another product that will work better for you and tells you about it.
-Everyone stands behind their product, work, or guarantees without hidden little disclaimer lines in their contracts.
-Ads that are really true without catches in the fine print.
-Companies that keep their promises and make deliveries on time.
-Companies that are truthful and fair to their employees, making a safe and desirable place for them to work.
-Workers who take pride in their work and do an honest dayís work unsupervised, not suing employers with false injury or discrimination charges.
A government sector where;
-Our leaders would uphold the truth as the most important aspect of their job, building up its citizens trust.
-The executive branch and the legislative branch would tell us only the truth, never using spins to cover up their mistakes or hide their true agenda. That they would give us a true account of controversial subjects without any cover ups. That they would be frugal with its citizensí money, as the citizens have worked hard for the money they pay to the government. That they would give us an honest accounting of their spending and justifiable reasons for the use of our money. That our leaders would quit trying to blame each other and in a honest civil manner present their programs and let the nation determine what action to take. That they would not write so many complicated laws making many of us unintentional law breakers, as we can not find or understand the meaning of the laws. That our leaders would make simple enforceable laws that cause a minimum of intrusions in our lives. And most important of all, that they always let God be the Supreme Ruler of our nation, allowing Him to hold us to the truth.
-All the television, newspaper and radio commentators would tell the simple truth of the situation. Avoiding all of their personal or political bias and not using sensationalism for better ratings.
A personal life where:
-There was no office gossip out of pettiness or envy causing lies about oneís work, personality, or social habits.
-There were no man - woman relationship lies out of lust, or manipulation for social position, ego, or financial reward. Letting honesty lead our relationships.
-No one was lying to steal or extort financial or personal gain from you.
-Where no false claims or lawsuits were brought against anyone.
A church congregation where:
-The churchís first and primary goal is showing and telling about Jesusís love for us, that He died to save us. How we should use His example to love and care for all people. Making all other matters secondary.
-Working together not caring about who is in charge or getting the praise for doing the work. Only trying to use all to the best of their abilities.
-No gossip is heard about anyone or anything. Only members being truthfully informed of the churchís activities.
-The church more concerned about teaching Godís truth than obtaining numbers, money, building projects, or property.
-The leadership of the church concentrated on following the Lordís will, not on stroking their own ego, increasing their power, or showing off their personal accomplishments. Realizing we are all one in Christ.
-The church using the Bible to conduct its business instead of worldly business procedures.
In your family lives where:
-Relatives help each other without pettiness, envy, or gossip. Never passing on tidbits about others, putting them down, why oblivious to their own faults.
-Your children being honest with you, like they are at that young age when they havenít learned how to lie yet. When they just blurt out the truth whatever the consequences may be. Trying to hold that truthful relationship with your children as they grow up is hard, for they soon learn how to manipulate the truth to their own advantage. Still hoping as your children grow into young adults they realize the best relationship has to start with the truth.
-You are completely honest with your spouse, never thinking a little lie wonít hurt. Knowing you will never have true contentment until both spouses are truthful with each other. Being able to open up and share your innermost thoughts of the heart. Those most intimate feelings, dreams, desires, that you have ever had. Knowing that your spouse loves to hear them, will always listen to them, and will protect their secrecy out of love to you.
-Last, but not least, look in the mirror. Sometimes the hardest person to be truthful to is ourselves. It is often much easier to blame someone else or some other circumstance for our failures than really look at the truth. We try to rationalize away instead of confronting the truth. Our pride, ego, greed, envy, lusts for earthly pleasures, our having to be something in this world, our inability to forgive others, forget the past, and move on only fogs up the image we have as we look at ourselves in the mirror. Only with the truth are we able to see ourselves clearly, seeing all of our short comings, and realizing we are nothing without the Lord.
Then we make the final step. We look to Heaven above where, if we are sincerely sorry, the Lord forgives us, putting our minds and conscience at peace. Then tomorrow we once again try to walk down that straight road of truth in our everyday lives.
There is an old story about a father and his son. The father was getting on in years and grooming his son to take over his construction business when he retired. The son was engaged and was very anxious to be married to his beautiful bride. The father had wanted to take a vacation for a long time. So he called his son aside and said, ďSon, I am going on vacation and I want you to build this large house for my favorite client while Iím away. There is one special thing about building this house. It is on a hillside so please make sure the foundation is wide, deep, and with bracing even though it will cost three times as much. I donít want the foundation washed out by the rains, especially for this special client.Ē The son started right away on the house. He could clearly see why the father had told him to build an extra strong foundation. The view was extraordinary but the terrain was steep and in a strong rain storm the foundation could be washed away, taking the whole house with. The son started to think. I soon will own the business and by building a regular foundation it will be possible to save enough money to buy a small house so I can get married sooner. Besides if it doesnít rain hard the foundation will last for a couple of years. Then I can say it was a shift in the land that cause the foundation to break and get paid again when I have to repair the house. The house was finished two days before the father returned from his vacation. The father went out to see how the house had turned out. The son was excited to see his father and find out how his vacation was. After visiting for a few minutes, the father wanted to know if everything had gone along as planned on the construction of the house. The son replied everything had been done as planned except the foundation. The son then proudly said, ď I made a smart business decision on the foundation. I saved enough money by making a normal foundation to buy a little house for myself. See how I have put this fancy siding on to hide the foundation so the owner will never see how thin and shallow it is. Then when it washes away I can say there is nothing wrong with my construction. You are a fool for picking a poor building site and make him pay me to build him another house.Ē The fatherís face dropped as he looked at his son and said, ď Son you are the fool. This house was to be your wedding gift from me. When it rains hard you will have nothing. You have only cheated yourself out of a very lavish wedding gift.Ē
So it is in our lives when we actually believe we can use lies for gain. For we are only lying to ourselves because God already knows the truth. When we lie we are only cheating ourselves out of the many blessings God wants to give us. Truth is the foundation of Heaven and earth. Anything not built solidly on the truth will not stand the test of time. You can hide a poor foundation with half truths and lies. You can cover a foundation of lies with dirt of avoidance and indifference. Houses of lies can be profitable and self satisfying for awhile. But they will never last forever and when the rains come all the houses built on lies will come tumbling down. In the end youíll be relieved that the truth is out. There is never any peace, never any security, when any day, anytime, your lies can be exposed. You will then realize how much easier it is to live in the truth, and wonder why anyone would want to lie.
Silence can also be a lie when we know the truth was not spoken and we do not respond. This also includes times when we know others have not received a completely truthful answer, or we hear gossip, where people guess at the truth, and we say nothing. Even in manís imperfect world you can be considered an agent of a person if you are present when conversation leads someone to believe you represent that person, and you do not deny it by remaining silent. Whether your silence was due to the fact you want to impress people, help a friend, were embarrassed, or just didnít want to make a scene, you now are tied to that person and are responsible for his actions in whatever capacity you were deemed to represent him. You have this liability even if you receive no compensation. God demands no less from us. If we are silent when we know the truth to be otherwise, we become an agent of the liar and part of the lie. We are an agent of gossip if we are silent when half truths or known facts are spread and considered the truth. Only with the Lordís help can we find the strength to come forward with the truth, trying to rectify the situation to the best of our abilities.
Society believes that it is all right to have secrets for a variety of reasons. Some are valid, like waiting until the child is old enough to understand and comprehend certain information, information held in confidence by a pastor, attorney, spouse, or other person that needs privacy. But most secrets, whether large or very small, will always come back to haunt you, including the following:
- Secrets that hide the truth for financial gain are just a shortcut of stealing.
- Arrogant people feel ordinary people are not equipped to understand the complexities involved so why explain the situation to them at all. They failed to realize that everyone has a concern, a desire to know to their abilities. No one wants to be left out.
- Vanity keeps people from being truthful. They are frightened because they may become less desirable if their problems were known. But when they finally admit the truth and seek help, they are astonished how many others have the same problems. They only wish they would have come forward earlier to get help.
- Unintentional secrets can be as devastating to those not told, those not in the inner circle. All want to participate in what is going on without groups having privileged information.
We must let Christ guide us in opening our hearts to the reality and need to communicate the truth regardless of the situation.
There is an old west story of an older cattle rancher and his mail order bride. The rancher had come out west when it was wild and no place for a lady. But the west had now been tamed and growing older he longed for a wife and a family to pass the ranch onto. Nan had been raised in a Christian orphanage since birth. She had been well taken care and had been given a basic education, but still longed for the love she had missed by not having a family. When Nan was old enough to go out on her own she ended up being a housekeeper to a financially secure family. Much was expected of her but not much love was given back. And love was what she valued most of all. So when she read the ad in the paper for a bride to come out west and share the life of a rancher, she had replied immediately. To her surprise she received a letter two weeks later asking her to come out, meet, and possibly marry Dan. She accepted and the next day began her journey west. When she arrived out west, she was met by Dan. Dan was predisposed to a problem with his cattle. So Nan rode out to the ranch in the wagon with Tug, the ranch cook. The ranch was not what Nan had expected. Oh it was large enough with a big house, bunkhouse and two barns. But the house was dark and dirty. It probably had not been cleaned for a year. She quickly began cleaning the house trying to make it just dirty from its filthy condition. Just about then the crew came riding in hot, sweaty, and hungry. Dan and Nan sat at the head of the table while the crew ate with them. At last the crew left, so Nan and Dan could talk privately. Dan said he would be brief, that he was a decent Christian and he didnít want a woman around just for companionship. He wanted to have children and as he was growing older he wanted to have them right away. He realized he was a little older than Nan, not all that good looking, but he would be good to her and let her run the house and make it suitable for the family. He would share everything with her and God willing the family would have the ranch forever. He had worked late today so they could go into town tomorrow and be married by the preacher. He would sleep in the bunkhouse tonight and she could let him know in the morning if his offer was acceptable. If not he would send her back on the stage tomorrow and wish her well. With that he excused himself and left. Nan sat stunned in silence for a few minutes. This was not the knight in shining armor she had dreamed about. It was not even one bit romantic. She felt like she was one of Danís prized heifers that was about to be purchased and turned out to pasture with the prize bull. But she could not turn back now. Besides for the very first time in her life she would have her own home. Yes, she would marry Dan tomorrow.
Nan somehow made it through that first adjustment period of newlyweds. She enjoyed being a ranch wife, having her own house. Time passed quickly and soon Nan had a son and daughter. The Lord had blessed her richly and she was very content being a wife and raising her family. Then as old saying goes, ďUp popped the Devil.Ē Dan had just hired a new ranch hand. Ted was nice and polite, but he somehow stirred feelings in Nan that she never felt before. She loved and respected Dan, but it was nice to be noticed as a woman again. It was simple flirtation, foolishness that as a grown married woman she should be over. Still deep down she loved that feeling of being noticed as a lady. Then it happened. Nan was riding with the crew gathering cattle and when she stopped for a drink at the creek Ted was there. Soon she was openly flirting with Ted and he was flirting right back. Then Dan saw them. Dan angrily told Ted to go to the line camp and work there until payday. Then he would have enough to leave the area and if Dan ever caught Ted around his wife again he would kill him. Ted replied that nothing happened and if Dan took this out on Nan he would come after him. Ted jumped on his horse and headed for the line camp. Nan furiously road home angry that her husband would treat her this way. She was a grown married woman able to take care of yourself. She would just wait for Dan to cool down and apologize for the way he had treated her. But when her anger subsided she realized the situation had gotten out of hand. So she decided to secretly solve the problem herself. Late that night she quietly left the house and headed out to the line shack to give Ted enough money to leave the area. As she was leaving she thought she heard someone stirring in the House, but no one ever bothered them with all the ranch hands around. She rode hard to the line shack so she could get back home quickly. Her approach woke Ted from his sleep and he walked out to meet her. She told him to take the money and leave because she was a married woman and didnít want any killing. Ted refused at first but finally agreed and saddled another horse for her, as her horse was wore out from the ride. They both agreed never to tell anyone about the meeting and Nan took off at a gallop. As Nan was nearing the ranch she saw lights and all the cowboys scurrying around. Sneaking into the barn with her horse on the opposite side of the commotion she was able to unsaddle and get half way to the house before a cowboy saw her and yelled out. Suddenly Dan was there with a bloody bandage on his shoulder breathing a sigh of relief that both Nan and the children were alright. She soon realized that sound she had heard when she was leaving was someone robbing them. Dan had been shot but seemed okay and the children were already back in bed. Nan walked quietly back to the house with Dan, sat down and had a cup of coffee with him. Dan said he surprised someone who was robbing money from the safe and was shot in the shoulder. The escaping robbers had also killed a ranch hand as he came out to stop the robbers. Dan had been very worried because he could not find her. All Nan could think to say was that she had gotten up for a drink of water and hearing the intruder she had run out to the bunk house to get help. She had fallen stunning herself and was just recovering when she was found. Nan knew she was lying but she couldnít tell the real truth because it could be misconstrued and just cause more problems. About an hour later some of the cowboys rode in with Ted, whose hands were tied behind him. They had found him with some money and a horse in the stable that had been lathered after a long ride. Ted vehemently denied stealing the money and claimed he had just been asleep when he heard somebody riding by. He had gotten up and saw two men take off galloping when they saw him. They look like some of the trash from the local saloon. Danís voice then boomed out asking if anyone knew anything about these riders, had they seen their tracks, or anything else about this horse or money Ted had? Ted looked real hard at Nan. He hoped she would tell the truth. If not now, maybe later when she came to her senses before he was hanged. Nan could not look back into his eyes because she had so much guilt in her heart. She should come forward with the truth, but would they believe her? Most would believe she was meeting Ted on the sly and trying to help him. She did not want to be thought of as a tramp cheating on her husband. No, it would be easier to keep silent until she could talk with the sheriff. A few of the crew headed out towards town to bring Ted to the sheriff. The only problem was the sidekick of the cowboy that was killed was riding along with them. A few miles down the road he convinced them that they were wasting their time bringing Ted into town. They lynched him in a lonely valley on the road to town.
In the morning when Nan heard the cowboys talking about it she went quietly to her bedroom and just broke down and cried. She was crying when Dan walked through the door. ďCrying over your dead lover? I finally figured it out when I found the horse from the line camp here. Ted had an extra horse and you were going to run away with him after you stole all of our money. The only thing you didnít count on was falling and stunning yourself so you couldnít get away. I understand your attraction to a younger handsome man, but I never thought you would do this to your family. For the sake of our children there will be a ticket on the first stage out off town. Take it and never come back, or I will tell the sheriff the real truth.Ē
Nan had alot to reflect on riding the stagecoach back home. At first she felt very unlucky for what had happened and blamed God for her problems. But then she looked inside herself and realized she had been caught up in her own lies. She would not admit her vanity, that she liked other men noticing her. That was not an overwhelming problem. She should have just apologized to Dan and it would have all been over. But her pride had kept her from admitting a mistake. It caused her to try and solve the problem by sneaking around behind her husbandís back. It seemed like it was getting easier to tell lies while she was getting dragged deeper into deception, and turning a simple problem into a drastic one. When she could have straightened everything out she had remained silent, hoping there was an easier way to solve the problem. It was like the lies were controlling her actions. Then time ran out on her and she was caught up in her own web of deception, a small indiscretion which had gotten out of control with lies and could not be turned back into the truth. An innocent man was dead, and Nan had nothing.
Here are a few thoughts one might want to consider:
- It is easy to steal with a lie, but you are only stealing from yourself the many blessings God wants to give all who live in the truth
- The easiest person to lie to is yourself, hiding your own short comings
- When you tell a lie you are only fooling yourself, for God knows the truth
- Secrecy causes a void where gossip grows quickly and makes the ugliest falsehood the truth.
- Donít be a party to gossip, if you want to know something about someone ask that person, and never say behind oneís back what you would not say to their face.
- Standing by silently when a lie is told makes you become part of that lie.
- When you tell one lie it usually forces you to tell a few more and soon you are entangled in a web of your own deception.
- All lies are sin, whether big or small, and push us away from God.
Only in truth can God be found and only truth can we serve Him.