Part One of Two
Continuing with our series on Wisdom and Successful Living, we have found that wisdom is both from above and necessary in our daily living. It is a life skill that comes with knowledge and practice. It is the Hebrew term chokmah, which means skillful living or wisely winding your life with skill around the circumstances you face with good judgment and sober thinking and knowledge.
Truth-telling is a fading or lost art or discipline in our society. Whether it is in advertising, personal or written communication or even sworn statements (my world with the law and courts, depositions and testimony), lying is common. Politicians are no better. They will state, repeat, and insist on absolute falsehoods. Some surveys estimate that as much as 50% of what you hear or read is an absolute lie or substantively false. This has made us all look more carefully at news reports in the last few years. Such is our world. What to do?
A worse, and far more evil, things can happen when you’re living a life-lie and unwilling to recognize the truth. In John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, Lucifer is portrayed as a reasonable character, but one who becomes too proud and enamored with his talents – so much so that he and his followers are kicked out of heaven for daring to challenge God’s ultimate truth.
Jesus provided this direction to his disciples: John 14:6. Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. To the disciples, who were surrounded by religious phonies, who were true seekers of the Kingdom of God, Jesus assured them he was the way and the truth and the life. No other message, no other route, and no other life commitment would suffice. All of life as we know it came from God, and was incarnate in the Living Word, Jesus, who was and is Truth.
The New Testament addresses this requirement as well: Ephesians 4:15 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. The phrase “speaking the truth in love,” in the original Greek, is actually “truthing in love.” Meaning, this is not just what we say, but what we do, what we are, what we represent. Those who we have contact or interaction with should be able to be confident that we are truthful in our being, that we are not shading the truth, playing with plausible deniability, and the like.
What is the antidote? Stop lying and start telling the truth. Make it your life discipline to think before you speak, and when you speak, speak with truth. This best reflects a life that has integrity and grace, and it is a sequel to the other half of this life equation – “Speaking the truth in love.” Truth is best lived out and spoken when accompanied by love. More coming in Part Two.
– John Moore