Truth – a simple concept, yet profound. It presents the daunting task of bringing it all to light, just as it is – bare, unshaded, unblemished, without any cover, an expression of plain reality. As children, we heard it over and over again, the concept repeated to us from the lips of many adults.
At school, on the playground, at a friend’s party, everywhere we went – adults told us always to tell the truth, a concept we seemed to struggle with as children. It felt like an ideal worth reaching for, but in practice it slipped through the small fingers of innocent kids.
Truth becomes a distance concept when the reality of being reprimanded stares a little boy in the face. Truth becomes a trick when a little girl doesn’t want to share her toy. In spite of what we wanted, adults held us to the high moral standard of always telling the truth. If every child heard these golden words, where on the path of growing into adults did they lose them?
Some older people have a slippery way of interpreting the truth. It isn’t always black and white, they say. For some others, the truth is subject to interpretation. In today’s world, the truth, while it holds significant weight, can easily be evaded for the ‘greater good’.
We see this in effect everywhere we turn. The politician who makes a promise during the campaign that he never intends to keep. The mom who tells her daughter that she will be back in an hour, knowing that she will be gone for the whole day. The friend who tells you that a dress looks amazing, simply so she doesn’t have to say that your weight-loss program isn’t working. We see the concept of truth being eroded in our society for many reasons that we adults like to give.
Yet, despite the inconsistent way in which this principle is upheld, one thing remains certain – the truth will always set you free. Every twisted story chokes the author. Every broken promise pierces the heart of the maker. Every manipulative word comes back to haunt the deceiver. Truth be told, you never get away with a lie. Whether in the moment or in some distant future, the truth rises like smoke in a clear evening sky. It resurfaces. It comes back to take its place.
The decay we see all around us in our communities, the pain and the distress we experience directly or through the eyes of others – it all stems from one fact: that, as a society, we have turned away from the truth. When you ignore the warning bells in your head that say the price of that car is too high for your budget … when you choose to live a lie and forget who you really are … when you sit idly enjoying the rewards of other people’s labour in the form of stolen property … you ignore the truth. You believe a lie.
The lie that says you can’t be yourself, that you have to conform to an ideal that has been sketched in your mind. Sketched by commercials on TV, fictitious ‘reality’ shows, fake picture-perfect moments on social media. When you chose to ignore your real image in the mirror and turn to the pictures drawn in your mind, you lose the true essence of yourself. You become a shadow of your true self.
The good news is that we no longer have to be deceived into living a lie. We have received a new life through Jesus that sets us free from lies so that we can be free to be who we really are. Unburdened by debt, because we live within our means. Open to trust and love, because we acknowledge our own faults and let others be themselves around us. Giving freely, because we know that all we possess is a gift of God. When we turn away from the misguided reality of living a false life and embrace the truth of all that we are, we are set free – truly set free to live the life we were made to live.
Happy, satisfied and free.
“The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”